DePaul Volleyball Digs its Way to Victory
CHICAGO - The DePaul volleyball team (3-2) relied on strong defense during its second game of the DePaul Challenge against Loyola-Chicago (1-5). The Blue Demons had three student-athletes register double-digit dig totals in their 3-1 (25-23, 12-25, 25-17, 27-25) victory over the Ramblers. This is the 10th win for DePaul in its all-time series against Loyola.
Lauren Blasi set a new career-best, with a .393 attack percentage on 14 kills. Sarah Cullen matched Blasi's offensive attack with 14 kills of her own while adding a team-best 15 digs for the double-double. The back court was well protected with the combination of Katherine Knutson's 10 digs and Chelsea Thrulby's 12.
In the opening game, The Blue Demons commanded the opening points and quickly sprinted to a 10-3 advantage. The Ramblers rallied back with a 7-3 run of their own, punctuated by back-to-back kills from Colleen Francis to force DePaul to take a time out. Despite a team-attack percentage of .147 (13-8-34), the Blue Demons relied on stellar passing in the back court and allowed only 11 kills on 39 attempts. Cullen and Thurlby paced the floor with six digs apiece.
Loyola-Chicago found its stride in the second set, using a commanding 16 kills and no errors to knot the match 1-1. Francis added six kills en route to the 25-12 second set win.
Following the break DePaul came back with a vengeance, registering an impressive .516 (17-1-31) clip, and never trailed in the third stanza. Following a Rambler service error, Chandler Carney terminated two points in a row to put the Blue Demons up 3-0; the closest the margin would ever get. The offensive effort was balanced for the DePaul, as all five attackers to see action notched at least three kills. Sammy Geiger ended the game 25-17, after she served up an ace.
Thurlby started the fourth game right were Geiger left off, dishing out two service aces of her own to open up the set. The Ramblers did not bow out quietly, however, and never allowed the Blue Demon's lead to get too large. DePaul once again had to rely on its defense, as Loyola recorded just five attack errors on 35 attempts. After a series of Blue Demon attack errors allowed the Ramblers to knot the score at 25, DePaul was able to rely on the swing of Blasi to terminate the final point, and secure the match-win for the team.
Geiger managed the offense with 37 assists, while adding two aces. Kate Letcher and Chandler Carney contributed eight put downs each in today's offensive effort, while Christy Landschoot made her season debut with five digs and two assists coming off the bench.
Francis led the floor for the Ramblers with 18 kills, while Natalie Pounovich hit an astounding .462 (14-2-26) clip. Ceci Mattei added 43 assists, while Alyse Serritella protected the back court with 16 digs.
The Blue Demons return to action tonight, for their final match of the weekend against the Clemson Tigers. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Match Notes: Junior outside hitter Sarah Cullen has tallied double-doubles (Kills-Digs) in all but one match this season to bring her career total to 31... sophomore Lauren Blasi set a new career-best in both kills and attack percentage today after recording 14 kills on 28 attempts and just three errors (.393)... freshman libero Chelsea Thurlby has reached double-digit dig totals in four of the season's five matches... Loyola-Chicago leads the all-time series against DePaul, 24-10.