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DePaul Battles to Five-set Win
Senior Lauren Blasi notched a match-high 15 kills on Saturday.


Senior Lauren Blasi notched a match-high 15 kills on Saturday.

Nov. 5, 2011

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CHICAGO – It took five sets but the DePaul volleyball team locked down its third BIG EAST Conference win of the season on Saturday afternoon as it defeated visiting Rutgers three sets to two (25-16, 28-30, 17-25, 25-17, 15-12).

The Blue Demons, who have recorded three BIG EAST wins for the first time since they won four in 2008, move to 7-19 on the season and 3-8 in conference while Rutgers drops to 8-20 and 1-9 in league play.

The first set saw DePaul handle the Scarlet Knights quickly. Sophomore Natalie Rizzo, who hit a staggering .385 on the afternoon, went a perfect four-for-four in kills in the opening frame. As a team, the Blue Demons committed just three errors in the set and hit .391—their best percentage of any of the five frames. While the two squads tied at 4-4 and 5-5, DePaul ran away with the set soon thereafter. With the score at 16-11 in favor of the Blue Demons, DePaul rattled off four straight points thanks to kills from Molly Creek and Amy Lanski and the blocking duo of Rizzo and freshman Katie Gamsky.

The Scarlet Knights managed to put together a small rally toward the end of the set, but a kill by Rizzo capped it off, giving the Blue Demons a 25-16 first set win.

The second set was an epic back-and-forth affair for Rutgers and DePaul. The Blue Demons trailed in the early goings of the frame before leveling the score at 13-all and again at 14-all. From there, Rizzo notched a solo block, senior Lauren Blasi added two kills, and Rutgers committed an attacking error to give DePaul an 18-14 advantage. The Scarlet Knights responded however, and the two teams fought to a 22-22 deadlock. The squads tied again at 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28 before Rutgers managed two straight points to take the set 30-28.

In the third set, the Scarlet Knights took charge despite three kills apiece from Rizzo and Blasi and two kills from junior Rachel Aumann. Blasi, who finished with a match-high 15 kills, also racked up four digs in the set. Rutgers’ Sofi Cucuz and Tiffany Regmund did the most damage in the set, however, as they combined for 13 kills in the frame and committed no errors in 23 attacks. Their combined effort proved insurmountable for the Blue Demons as DePaul went down two sets to one going into the fourth.

The fourth frame showed DePaul’s resiliency. The Blue Demons went ahead and stayed ahead throughout the entirety of the frame after they went ahead an overwhelming 8-1 early. The Scarlet Knights managed to pull back to within six, but DePaul once again extended its lead. The early advantage allowed the Blue Demons to cruise in the frame as they forced a decisive fifth set with a 25-17 fourth set victory.

Aumann led the way for the Blue Demons in the final set. The junior middle blocker registered four kills in five total attacks in the frame. Aumann’s effort, combined with those from Rizzo and Blasi, pushed DePaul to a 15-12 fifth set victory and the match win.

The Blue Demons return to the court tomorrow looking to collect their fourth BIG EAST win and third in their last four conference matches. DePaul welcomes Seton Hall, who currently holds a 5-5 BIG EAST record, on Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. contest at the McGrath-Phillips Arena. Following the match, the Blue Demons will recognize the three seniors on the DePaul volleyball team—Blasi, Creek, and setter Sammy Geiger.

Notes: The Blue Demons are now 3-2 in five-set matches…Katie Gamsky finished with a career-high 44 assists…libero Kelsey Bowler notched a match-high 23 digs…DePaul registered 12 blocks compared to nine by Rutgers…Rizzo finished with three solo blocks and four blocking assists.