DePaul Drops Senior Day Matchup
Nov. 6, 2011
CHICAGO – On an emotional senior day in the McGrath-Phillips Arena, the DePaul volleyball team came up short against visiting Seton Hall as it fell in three sets (25-23, 25-9, 26-24) to the Pirates. Seniors Molly Creek and Lauren Blasi combined for 11 kills while fellow senior Sammy Geiger notched 20 assists in the match.
The first set saw the score tie on 13 separate occasions. For much of the set, neither team was able to grab control as it proved to be one of the most level sets of the Blue Demons’ 2011 season. The two squads even hit at an identical .244 percentage and tallied 17 digs apiece in the opener.
Sophomore Natalie Rizzo continued her solid play at the net as she racked up three kills in three attempts in the first set while assisting on two blocks. Her play, combined with 6-for-8 effort by Seton Hall’s Hannah Hugeback assured that it would be a tight match. As a result no team managed a lead larger than two points until the Pirates went on top 23-20.
From there, DePaul called timeout and came out determined following the break. The Blue Demons benefited from a Pirates attacking error but Seton Hall got one back. Trailing 24-21, DePaul rattled off two straight points, one of which came on a thunderous swat by Creek. With match point looming, however, DePaul committed an error to give the Pirates the first set 25-23.
The second set was a different story for both sides. DePaul hit -.185 in the frame as it committed nine total errors to just four kills. In front of a lively crowd, Creek managed a set-high two kills for DePaul but it wasn’t enough to overcome a strong start by the Pirates, who went up 9-2 early. Following that score, Seton Hall’s lead never sunk below five points as it wound up taking the set by a commanding 25-9 score.
Following the match, DePaul head coach Nadia Edwards said, “I think for us, you can never breathe for a second. You can never relax for a second. You always have to stay focused in every single moment.”
In the third frame, DePaul bounced back. Blasi took over much of the offense for the Blue Demons in the set as she tallied five kills and committed no errors in nine total attacks. DePaul grabbed hold of a 12-6 lead, forcing a Seton Hall timeout. Out of the break, the Blue Demons continued to excel in the set, taking a lead as large as 17-10.
“We had a great start to the match,” Edwards continued. “At the end of the game, we took that breath. Seton Hall is a great team and a great team, in any given moment, whether they’re leading or have a deficit, is going to play hard to come back.”
And come back, they did. Seton Hall responded by taking the next seven points to pull even with DePaul. From there, the two squads went back and forth, knotting up at 24-24. The Pirates notched a kill and benefited from an attacking error to give them a 26-24 victory.
Despite the loss, it was the efforts from Geiger, Creek, and Blasi that shone through.
“Sammy and Lauren and Molly they are very special people,” said Edwards, who first coached the trio last season, her first at DePaul. “They are very passionate and they were right on board, coming together with this program once I got here.”
“They have definitely been mentors for younger ladies. As seniors, they saw the light at the end of the tunnel, started playing harder and things started coming together for them. I wish I had more them with them.”
Blasi, Creek, and Geiger still have at least one more weekend in the DePaul uniform. The Blue Demons must now look ahead to next weekend for its final two matches of BIG EAST Conference play.
“For us, it’s the last weekend so we need to play like we’ve never played before,” Edwards noted. “I think we’re actually peaking at the moment and this is a great time to be playing good volleyball. We need to take that into next weekend.”
DePaul first travels to Syracuse on Friday night for a 6 p.m. matchup against the Orange before heading out to Marquette on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match.