DePaul Battles, Falls in Non-Conference Match
Natalie Rizzo and Briana Spruill pushed the Blue Demons in a close second set.

Oct. 18, 2011

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MACOMB, Ill. - A midweek non-conference matchup against the Western Illinois Leathernecks resulted in a draining straight-set loss for the DePaul volleyball team on Tuesday night at Western Hall in Macomb, Ill. The Leathernecks move to an even 11-11 on the season while the Blue Demons drop to 4-17 overall.

The Leathernecks benefited from a DePaul error to open the frame before they served an ace to give themselves an early 2-0 lead. The Blue Demons pulled the match to 3-3 and kept with Western Illinois throughout the frame. The teams went back and forth, though the Leathernecks managed to keep the lead for the majority of play.

Down 15-11, however, the Blue Demons fought back. Freshman Amy Lanski and junior Kelsey Bowler each served up aces of their own and DePaul forced three attacking errors out of the Leathernecks to make it 16-16 and 17-6 in favor of the Blue Demons.  At that point, the teams began trading points, tying it up at 18, 19, 20, and 21 points. The Leathernecks managed a one point edge at 22-21 which forced DePaul to use a timeout. From there, WIU rattled off three of the next four points to seal the first set win at 25-22. Lanski and junior Rachel Aumann were the big hitters in that set, notching five and three kills, respectively.

In the second frame, DePaul and Western Illinois again found themselves tied after six points. The Leathernecks found themselves a step ahead of the Blue Demons through the next several serves. For DePaul, this stretch was highlighted by some aggressive play by setter Sammy Geiger, who notched two kills in her first four attempts. DePaul stayed within two points of Western Illinois until the Leathernecks went from a 9-7 lead to a commanding 13-7 advantage.

Sophomores Natalie Rizzo and Briana Spruill, however, stepped up to halt the Western Illinois run. Both Rizzo and Spruill swatted down a kill each before the duo combined on a strong block. Rizzo added one more kill in this sequence to push the score to 13-11. Western Illinois got two back before Rizzo knocked down her third kill of the set.  With the score at 16-12 in favor of the Leathernecks, DePaul pulled the match level at 16-16 thanks to two WIU errors and kills from Katie Gamsky and Lauren Blasi, which forced the Leathernecks to burn their second timeout. Out of the break, Western regained its momentum. The squads kept the set tight but with the Leathernecks up 22-20, they notched two more points to put the Blue Demons on the brink, leading them to call a timeout. DePaul did not go quietly in the frame as the forced it to 24-24 thanks in part to a kill each by Spruill and Rizzo, but the comeback fell short for the Blue Demons. The Leathernecks went ahead on a DePaul error before knocking down a kill to give them the 26-24 set win.

The third set was again a battle for the two Illinois squads. After the Leathernecks got out to an 11-8 lead, the Blue Demons utilized their first timeout. After WIU got out front, DePaul rallied back to tie it at 16-16. An eight-point run by the Leathernecks stifled any chance for a Blue Demon comeback, however. Although DePaul etched out two more points, Western Illinois closed it out at 25-18 to take the match three sets to none.

The Blue Demons return home for a Friday night matchup against BIG EAST Conference foe USF at 7 p.m. in the McGrath-Phillips Arena. The contest serves as DePaul's annual "DIG PINK!" match, with proceeds going to the Side Out Foundation.



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