Volleyball Drops Season Opener
EVANSTON, Ill. The DePaul volleyball team dropped its season opener to Illinois-Chicago, 3-1 (17-30, 30-27, 30-23, 30-25) Friday at the Chicagoland Classic at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Blue Demons play Loyola-Chicago Saturday in the tournament's consolation match at 4:30 p.m.
The Blue Demons knocked down 63 kills while holding UIC to 53, but timely errors cost DePaul the match. Freshmen Kate Letcher and Charla Drabant led the young Blue Demon squad with 14 kills apiece, while sophomore Sarah Cullen finished with 11 kills. Letcher registered a match-high .478 attack percentage, committing just three errors on 23 attempts.
The Blue Demons opened game one with a flurry of kills, scattering the Flames defense and causing UIC to use its first timeout with DePaul up, 6-2. The Blue Demons' offense continued to cruise as they built a 18-7 advantage to force UIC's final timeout of the game. DePaul went on to win game one, 30-17 behind 19 kills and a fiery .300 attack percentage. Letcher led the Blue Demons with five kills and junior Caitlin Callaghan and Drabant each contributed four.
As hot as the Blue Demons were in game one, they cooled off in the matches final three games.
DePaul only mustered 13 kills in the second game, while UIC knocked down 18 kills which was highlighted by Katerina Hanackova and Casie Sullivan six kills apiece. The Flames took the back-and-fourth game 30-27 as defensive digs took center stage. The Blue Demons finished the second set with 19 digs and the Flames had 22. DePaul senior libero Maureen Zigulich led all players with seven digs.
Games three and four saw the Flames jump out to early leads and the Blue Demons were never able to make-up the lost ground. Game three saw UIC notch a match-high .270 attack percentage, while the Blue Demons registered a match-low .125 hitting percentage. The Flames won the third set 30-23.
Down 19-13 in the fourth game, the Blue Demons strung together three consecutive points on kills by Letcher and Drabant, and a Stacy Pando service ace to cut into the Flames lead. UIC stopped DePaul's momentum swing by answering each of the Blue Demon's points, eventually winning the game 30-25.
Sullivan paced the floor with 17 kills and led the Flames with 15 digs.
The Blue Demons had four players finish with double-digit dig totals. Zigulich led all players with 19 digs and Drabant followed with 13. Freshman setter Christy Landschoot and Callaghan each tallied 10 digs.
Landschoot commanded the Blue Demon offense and recorded 49 assists.
UIC faces Northwestern in the tournament's championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Saturday's meeting between DePaul and the Ramblers marks the 31st meeting between the two teams with Loyola leading the overall series 21-9.