Volleyball Celebrates Senior Day Right, Beats Rutgers 3-1 to Cap Season
Nov. 11, 2012
CHICAGO - Fueled by the emotion of Senior Day, and with many team milestones within reach, the DePaul volleyball team recorded a 3-1 (27-25, 32-34, 25-21, 25-16) BIG EAST Conference win over Rutgers on Sunday at McGrath-Phillips Arena. The game was the season finale for both teams.
DePaul (10-18, 5-10 BIG EAST) hit over .300 for the fourth time this season and had three players - Vesela Zapryanova (17), Abbie Fleener (12) and Callie Huebener (11) - reach double-digit kill totals. With the Blue Demons swinging well, Natalie Rizzo, Laura Witt and Rachel Aumann, who was celebrating Senior Day all hit for over .330.
Playing off the energy of the crowd - one that was filled with former Blue Demon greats along with a large contingent of DePaul students, parents and DePaul volleyball fans - the Blue Demons came out on the offensive and set the tone in a tight first set.
Both teams packed a punch in the first set and combined for 34 kills. Although the Scarlet Knights tallied 18 kills, the Blue Demons proficiency proved to be the difference with DePaul swinging for a .333 (16-4-36) clip. Tied at 25, Rizzo converted a crowd-pleasing kill and Allyson Rooks followed with an ace to give DePaul, the 27-25 victory.
After a close first frame, the second stanza did not disappoint as both teams refused to lose again. Back-and-forth play led to 10 different set points before Rutgers was able to squeak out the victory. DePaul had a chance to finish off the second set in the same fashion as the first, but this time Rutgers was the recipient of a Blue Demon service error and what would have been Zapryanova's 10th kill of the stanza landed just out-of-bounds and Rutgers evened the match at one game apiece. The Scarlet Knights won the longest set of the season 34-32.
After the break, DePaul settled back into its offensive rhythm and received four kills from Zapryanova and three more from Rizzo. The Blue Demons reached their first set point on a Zapryanova kill and wrapped up the win (25-21) on Fleener's second kill of the set.
Forging ahead with all the momentum and wanting to send Aumann off on a winning note, the Blue Demons dominated the final set and won 25-16 on what would be the final kill of Aumann's collegiate career. Tied at nine, the Blue Demons used a 10-3 run to control the set's tempo and set up Aumann's final kill. DePaul saw four match points before Aumann's thunderous ball ricocheted off a Rutgers defender and gave DePaul its 10th win of the season.
Rutgers (18-12, 4-11 BIG EAST) was paced by Alex Jones' 18 kills while Stephanie Zielinski tallied 53 assists.
Aumann finishes her career at DePaul with 704 kills.
DePaul ends its 2012 season on a high note - its 10 wins are the most since the 2004 season while its five BIG EAST wins are also the most since DePaul joined the conference in 2005. The weekend conference sweep -- with a win over St. John's on Friday -- is the first for the Blue Demon program since the 2004 season when DePaul defeated both Southern Miss and Tulane on the same weekend.