Hard Hitting Powers Volleyball Past Northern Illinois
DE KALB, Ill. DePaul freshman outside hitter Charla Drabant registered a school record 31.0 points in the Blue Demons' 3-2 (30-28, 26-30, 34-32, 22-30, 15-9) win over Northern Illinois, Wednesday at Victor E. Gym. The Blue Demons (1-5) notched their first win of the season while the Huskies fall to 3-5.
Big swings highlighted the match that saw four Blue Demons and three Huskies finish with double-digit kill totals. Drabant led the floor with 28 kills and NIU's Laura Baetzel followed with 26.
DePaul freshman setter Christy Landschoot was busy as she dished out a season-high 68 assists; finding freshman middle blocker Jacie Fielder 19 times, sophomore outside hitter Sarah Cullen on 18 occasions, and freshman middle blocker Kate Letcher on 14 instances to round out DePaul's double-digit kill performers. As a team, the Blue Demons finished the match with a season-high .309 attack percentage with Letcher pacing the team with a .619 hitting percentage.
Game one was highlighted by high octane offense as both teams hit over .300 for the game. DePaul hit a sweltering .368 and NIU matched the intensity with a .333 attack percentage. Both teams recorded 19 kills, but Drabant led all players with eight kills. Baetzel paced NIU and the floor with a .714 (5-0-7) attack percentage in the first game.
Tied at 21 in game one, NIU registered a service ace and a kill to take a 23-21 lead and forced DePaul to use its second timeout. Following the timeout, Drabant hammered down a kill and the Huskies committed back-to-back errors to give the Blue Demons their first lead of the game at 24-23. The two teams continued to trade points and with DePaul up 28-27 the Huskies used their final timeout. The Blue Demons' final two points of the game came on kills from Drabant and Fiedler.
NIU was on the attack in the second game, leading the tight set throughout and won 30-26. The Blue Demons cut the lead to one on several occasions, but never tied or led in the set. DePaul registered 18 kills to the Huskies' 17, but NIU was more efficient in the second game as they recorded a .317 attack percentage. DePaul's Sarah Cullen paced the floor with six kills and NIU's D'Ambrose and Baetzel each notched five kills.
Following the break, the Blue Demons found themselves down 21-17, but battled their way back and tied the game at 24. DePaul continued to fight and took a 27-26 lead on kill by Cullen and reached its first game point on a Catherine Knutson's service ace but, the Huskies answered with a kill to tie the game at 29. DePaul faced game point on two more occasions before Landschoot dumped the ball into the far corner of the court to win the game, 34-32.
The Blue Demons cooled off in the fourth game, while the Huskies hit a match-high .419 compared a match-low .171 for the Blue Demons. NIU controlled the fourth set, but the Blue Demons were able to tie the game at 13 before NIU strung together a 6-0 run to put the game out of reach. The Huskies won the fourth set, 30-22.
Determined to win, the Blue Demons jumped out to a 8-3 lead in the final game as the young squad was fueled by Fielder and Drabant's accuracy. The duo combined for seven kills in the final set that the Blue Demons won, 15-9.
Defensively, the Blue Demons had three players finished with double-digit digs, senior defensive specialist Maureen Zigulich and Cullen each tallied 16 while Landschoot notched 13. Knutson got her first start as the team's libero and finished the match with nine digs and registered a team-high three service aces.
NIU setter Mandi Caputo led all players with 23 digs, while recording 65 assists.
The Blue Demons open the home portion of their schedule this weekend, hosting the DePaul Invitational Friday and Saturday. The Blue Demons welcome South Alabama,