Volleyball Stays Hot, Dousing Flames in 3-0 Road Sweep
Sept. 25, 2013
CHICAGO – Vesela Zapryanova tied a career-high with 22 kills as the DePaul volleyball team improved to 13-0 with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-20) win over UIC on Wednesday night at the Flames Athletic Center.
The Blue Demons are now one win away from their first-ever perfect non-conference record and, with 15 consecutive victories going back to 2012, are also one victory from tying the program’s longest winning streak ever. That mark is 16 straight, set by the 1978 team.
For the match, the Blue Demons hit .364 – their second-best efficiency mark of the season – in dispatching the Flames for the first time since 2003. DePaul had dropped eight straight in the series.
Zapryanova came up big to help snap the streak, landing an impressive 22 kills in just three sets. Her previous career-best, a 22-kill effort against South Florida last season, was put together in a four-setter.
Hitting .353 (22-4-51), the senior carried the load for DePaul as the only attacker in double figures. Reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week Abbie Fleener added nine kills in a supporting role, as Natalie Rizzo and Callie Huebener also supplied eight kills apiece.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Tyler Graham continued her solid play on the backline with 16 digs and two service aces. Senior Allyson Rooks added 10 digs, while Zapryanova saved eight balls.
UIC out-blocked the Blue Demons, 5-4, becoming just the third team win the battle at the net against DePaul this season.
In set one, Zapryanova ripped off seven kills and Rizzo added five as DePaul hit .361 in a 25-15 win. It was as close as 16-14 midway, before Graham held serve for eight straight points to bring up set point. Following the 8-0 run, a UIC service error promptly gave DePaul a 1-0 lead in the match.
Zapryanova then landed eight more kills, helping DePaul take set two while the team hit a match-high .400 (18-4-35). UIC led as late as 10-9, but a Zapryanova bullet evened things up.
Leading 14-13, DePaul would begin to pull away with a 5-0 run punctuated by a UIC attack error and timeout. The Flames would get back to a three-point deficit, 20-17, but again it was Zapryanova coming up big with three kills down the stretch as DePaul took five-of-eight points to close out set two.
In the decisive third frame, DePaul hit .333 as Zapryanova posted seven kills to clinch the win. With the match tied at 8-8, it was Graham’s serve that helped spear another big run as DePaul took seven of the next eight points to pull ahead, 15-9. Mostly trading points the rest of the way, DePaul reached match point on a Zapryanova kill before a UIC attack error finished out the win.
UIC dropped to 5-10 with the loss.
The Blue Demons are back on the court Saturday, Sept. 28, taking on their first conference opponent of the season when Marquette comes to town for a 7:00 p.m. CT match at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Match Notes: Zapryanova’s 22 kills were the most in a three-set match for DePaul since joining the BIG EAST in 2005… DePaul hit at least .311 for the eighth time in 13 matches… the Blue Demons have now won 15 straight and are one win from tying the all-time program record of 16 consecutive wins set in 1978… DePaul won its ninth 3-0 match of the year, already its most since sweeping 10 matches in 2000… the team’s 13 wins are the most for DePaul since the 2001 team won 24 matches… the Blue Demons beat UIC for the first time since 2003 and snapped an eight-match skid against their local rival…