A third set rally wasn't enough for DePaul as the Blue Demons volleyball team fell in three sets to the Cardinals.
Sept. 30, 2011
CHICAGO – Despite a strong third set rally, the DePaul volleyball team dropped its second BIG EAST Conference match of the season as it fell in straight sets to visiting Louisville at the McGrath-Phillips Arena on Friday night.
After dropping the first two sets each by a 25-15 score, the Blue Demons (4-11, 1-2 BIG EAST) made a run in the third frame but were eventually edged out by the Cardinals (11-4, 3-0 BIG EAST).
“Louisville is, in my opinion, one of the stronger teams in the conference,” DePaul head coach Nadia Edwards said following the match. “If we can take anything away from this it is that we’ve got to put our best foot forward and compete out of the shoot.”
The Blue Demons kept the score tight in the early goings of the opening frame, but the Cardinals managed to stay one step ahead. DePaul fell into an 0-2 hole early and was unable to rebound. Louisville kept a steady lead throughout the set, thanks in part to reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week Lola Arslanbekova who batted down six kills.
In the second set, the Cardinals got out to a quick 9-1 lead that put the frame out of reach early. Freshmen Amy Lanski and Katie Gamsky each contributed a solo block in the set, but the Blue Demons were held to an .038 attacking percentage by the stingy Louisville defense. As a result, the Cardinals took a 2-0 set lead.
It was in the third set, however, that the Blue Demons showed off their abilities.
Edwards also noted, “If we come out like we did in the third set at the beginning [of the match], then we can compete more with teams.”
Out of the break, DePaul came out on all cylinders, taking an 8-3 advantage over the Cardinals. Whereas in the previous two sets, there were no lead changes, the third frame saw the lead change on six different occasions to go along with 11 tie scores. Natalie Rizzo started the third frame for DePaul and provided a considerable spark for Blue Demons. The sophomore outside hitter swatted down eight kills in 10 total attacks for an .800 hitting percentage. The Blue Demons also stepped up their blocking game in the decisive frame as they registered three total, with Rizzo tallying a block assist.
“Natalie came in and gave us the offense and energy that we needed,” Edwards said. “She gave us the balance that we needed on offense and I’m happy that she came out ready.”
Louisville clawed its way back into the set, however, and leveled the score at 10-10. The squads went back-and-forth until both saw match point in sight. Rizzo swatted down a game-tying kill at 20-all and a go-ahead kill to make it 24-23 in favor of DePaul before a kill by the Cardinals’ Kaitlynn James knotted it at 24-24. Louisville was the beneficiary of a Blue Demon attacking error to bring on match point and the Cardinals closed it out with a kill from Taylor Brauneis.
The Blue Demons return to action on Sunday afternoon as they welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats for a 2 p.m. contest at McGrath-Phillips Arena.