Fleener Fuels DePaul in 3-1 Win Over Syracuse
Sept. 29, 2012
CHICAGO - DePaul freshman Abbie Fleener chose a perfect day for a breakout performance, helping the Blue Demons to a 3-1 (25-21, 29-31, 25-18, 25-20) BIG EAST Conference win over Syracuse on Saturday, September 29 at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
The win was the first for the Blue Demons in league play and DePaul improved to 6-10 on the season. Syracuse fell to 8-9 and 0-2 in BIG EAST action.
Fleener finished her career day with 21 kills and a sizzling .450 attack percentage - both were career-bests for the Grand Rapids, Mich. native. The freshman keyed DePaul's offensive attack as the Blue Demons hit .302 (64-16-159) for the match - the second time this season DePaul has hit over .300 in a match.
With Fleener hitting the ball well, Laura Witt tallied 43 assists while also finding Rachel Aumann (15) and Vesela Zapryanova (10), who also finished with double-digit kill totals. Aumann has now reached double-figures in kills over each of her past three matches, while Zapryanova put up her second-straight double-double with 11 digs.
Fleener also led DePaul behind the service line with four services aces, including one that sealed the victory for the Blue Demons in the fourth set.
DePaul opened the match with a balanced attack and a sizzling .387 (14-2-31) attack percentage in the first set to slip past Syracuse 25-21. Down 12-7, the Blue Demons utilized a 6-1 run, which was aided by a pair of DePaul service aces, three Orange attack errors and back-to-back kills by Fleener to tie the set at 13.
The two teams traded points before a monstrous kill from Aumann gave the Blue Demons the lead for good at the 17-16 mark.
The second stanza was highlighted by scrappy defense and long rallies as neither team wanted to give up an easy point. Trading points throughout the set, neither team led by more than three points and there were 16 ties in the elongated frame. The Blue Demons and Orange combined to serve for seven set points before a Silvi Uattara kill and a DePaul attack error led to a 31-29 Syracuse victory.
Following the break, the Blue Demons raced out to an 8-3 advantage behind five early kills including a pair from Zapryanova which would force an early Orange timeout. Syracuse would tie the game at 12, and again at 14, but DePaul would continue to terminate the ball well and take advantage of unforced Orange errors. With a 19-18 advantage, the Blue Demons would not allow another Syracuse point and won the stanza, 25-18.
With momentum on their side, DePaul again jumped out to an early advantage aided by its proficient attack. Closing out the match, Aumann tallied her 15th kill to give the Blue Demons match-point and Fleener served it home for the DePaul victory.
Syracuse was paced by Uattara's 12 kills and .321 (12-3-28) attack percentage. Melina Violas added 14 digs.
The Blue Demons return to the court on Sunday, Sept. 30 when they host another BIG EAST rival, Marquette, at 2 p.m.