The Blue Demons volleyball team outworked the Hoyas over five sets for the victory.
Sept. 25, 2011
Blue Tube - Highlights
CHICAGO – The DePaul volleyball team rebounded from Saturday’s five-set defeat to overpower visiting Georgetown and collect its first BIG EAST win of the season on Sunday afternoon in the McGrath-Phillips Arena . The Blue Demons took the second and fourth sets by scores of 25-16 and 25-19 before nailing down the victory with a 15-9 decisive fifth set.
"It’s a great feeling," DePaul head coach Nadia Edwards said following the five-set affair. "The girls have been putting in hard work all preseason to prepare themselves for the BIG EAST so I think it’s exciting to be able to come out the first weekend and have two good matches back-to-back."
With the win, DePaul pulls to 1-1 in the BIG EAST while Georgetown falls to 0-2 in conference. The opening frame found the Blue Demons and Hoyas trading points. At one point, DePaul got out ahead 13-7 but the Hoyas countered with five straight points to bring it back within one. The squads fought to tie scores at 15-15, 16-16, 17-17, and 18-18 before Georgetown strung together three straight and seven of the next 11 overall to nab the first set with a 25-22 score.
After some initial back-and-forth play in the early goings of the set, the Blue Demons went on a blocking spree. Up 7-6, DePaul’s Rachel Aumann combined with freshman setter Katie Gamsky on a tough block to give the Blue Demons an 8-6 advantage. After an attacking error by the Hoyas, Aumann next combined with sophomore Anastasiya Shutava on another block to put DePaul ahead 10-6.
“Anastasiya had a great game," Edwards noted. "It’s been a little while since she’s been out—she tore her ACL last year against Georgetown so I think she was excited to be back. There were a lot of players that contributed to the win so it was nice that we had some balance out there against a really strong team."
With the defense registering six total blocks and holding the Hoyas to a .000 attacking percentage in the set, the DePaul offense took it from there. Aumann and sophomore Natalie Rizzo each swatted down four kills in the frame which led to DePaul’s commanding .429 hitting percentage in the set. The Blue Demons went on to claim the second frame, 25-16.
“The girls were functioning on all cylinders today," Edwards continued. "The change that they made from yesterday to today was that they tightened it up when they needed to and focused on not making errors."
Despite coming out and garnering an early lead in the third set, the Blue Demons faced significant pressure from Georgetown. Up as many as seven at 14-7, DePaul struggled to close it out. The Hoyas fought to pull it even at 21-all. The Blue Demons regained their lead at 22-21, but Georgetown connected on a kill to tie it and threw up a block to take its first lead since the first point of the set. Two DePaul attacking errors paved the way for the Hoyas to take the third set 25-23.
The fourth frame, like the first two, saw the two squads playing level for much of its start. With the score knotted at 7-7, Shutava smacked down a substantial kill to give DePaul the slight advantage. Freshman Mariah Truscinski did her part on the service side as she served up back-to-back aces to give the Blue Demons a 13-8 lead. Georgetown took back the lead at 14-13, but DePaul did not relent. Genesis Reyes and Gamsky added an ace each while Lauren Blasi and Amy Lanski came up with big kills to give push the match to fifth set.
Determined to not suffer the same fate in the fifth set as they did in Saturday’s match, the Blue Demons came out firing. With the score at 4-4, Georgetown committed an attacking error before Rizzo hit down her seventh kill of the day to put DePaul up 6-4. Rizzo, who finished with seven kills and no errors for a .500 hitting percentage, also put up a momentum-stealing solo block in the frame to put the Blue Demons up 8-5. DePaul used kills by Shutava and Blasi—combined with a trio of Georgetown errors—to bring the team to match point at 14-9. With the match in hand, Truscinski offered up the assist to Lanski who hit it down for her team-high 11th kill, giving the Blue Demons the 15-9 fifth set victory and a 3-2 match win.
On her opponent, Edwards made note that “[Georgetown head coach Alrisa Williams] has a great team put together." She continued, "They did some really good things and I’m sure that they’re going to have a great season as they go through the BIG EAST."
DePaul continues its home stretch next weekend as it welcomes last season’s BIG EAST champion Louisville on Friday at 7 p.m. to the McGrath-Phillips Arena before taking on BIG EAST Tournament finalist Cincinnati at 2 p.m.
Notes: The Blue Demons registered 15 total blocks in the match, tied for fifth-most in DePaul volleyball history… Gamsky, Blasi, and Rizzo each collected two solo blocks with Rizzo also added five block assists…the six DePaul solo blocks are tied for fourth-most in team history…Rizzo hit .500 during the match while Aumann hit .368 (nine kills, two errors)…Shutava reached double-digit kills for the first time this season, knocking down 10… Kelsey Bowler tallied a match-high 17 digs…the Blue Demons hit .239 while the Hoyas hit just .138.