Blue Demons Head to Loyola for Final Fall Tourney
Sept. 13, 2012
CHICAGO - The DePaul volleyball team will look to snap a three-match losing streak this weekend as it makes a short trip north to the Loyola Rambler Challenge at Gentile Arena on Friday and Saturday, September 14-15.
The two-day event will feature the hosting Ramblers, as well as teams from Chicago State and USC Upstate.
DePaul will face the Spartans first, beginning the tournament with an 11:00 a.m. match on Friday morning. Two matches follow on Saturday as the Blue Demons meet Chicago State in the early match at 2:00 p.m. before playing Loyola to close out the tournament at 7:00 p.m.
After a 3-3 start to the season the Blue Demons are 3-6 overall after a tough weekend at the Chicago Classic, which saw DePaul drop three straight against some staunch competition -- including a three-set loss to No. 2 Penn State.
At the Chicago Classic Vesela Zapryanova was named to the All-Tournament Team, making it two straight weekends with All-Tourney honors for the junior transfer from Auburn.
Zapryanova has been one of the key cogs in the DePaul offense, leading the team with 119 kills and ranking second with 10 service aces. Freshman Callie Huebener also has played a big role in her first collegiate season, running second on the squad with 112 kills. The outside hitter also posted her team-leading fourth double-double of the season (17 kills, 15 digs) last weekend against Oregon State.
Scouting the Ramblers
Loyola will be making its 2012 home debut at the tournament and sits at 5-5 overall after a recent five-match losing streak. During the streak, the Ramblers have dropped 15-of-17 sets. DePaul and Loyola share one common opponent, and both claimed a 3-1 victory over Indiana State during the first weeks of the season.
Outside hitter Anna Eytchison, a graduate transfer from Dayton, has nearly 130 more attempts than anyone else on the Rambler roster and leads the team in kills (131) by 40. Freshman setter Brittany Brown has registered 300 assists running the offense and leads the team with 15 aces, while first-year libero Stephanie Kinane paces the defense with 178 digs from the libero spot.
DePaul trails 11-25 in the all-time series with the Ramblers, despite picking up a 3-0 win in the last meeting on Sept. 3, 2011 at the Chicagoland Challenge. Then-junior Rachel Aumann hit .414 and posted a match-high 15 kills in the match.
Scouting the Spartans
USC Upstate snapped a three-match losing streak of its own on Tuesday, Sept. 11 with a win over UNC Asheville to put its season record at 3-4.
The Spartans feature a balanced attack with three different players recording over 70 kills so far this season. Sophomore outside hitter Kayla McAvoy leads the team with 87 kills and a .307 hitting percentage. Senior setter Emily Sanders directs the offense and has put up 263 assists on the year, while junior Morgan Page paces the defense with 125 digs.
Friday's match will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Scouting the Cougars
Chicago State owns a five-match losing streak and a 2-11 overall record on the season. Its wins came over Coppin State and North Carolina A&T at the Coppin State Tournament on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. During the Cougars' recent losing streak, the team has dropped 15 straight sets.
Senior Sydney Van Munster leads the team in kills, but has missed the Cougars' past three matches with an ankle injury. RS sophomore Valeria Desiderio has picked up the slack in her absence, and runs second on the team with 70 kills on 332 total attempts. Junior Paula Sioto (157 assists) and sophomore Angelica Brewer (168 assists) both see plenty of floor time at setter, while sophomore libero Mia Townsell leads the squad with 180 digs.
DePaul leads the all-time series 13-0, including a sweep last season on Oct. 25, 2011 at McGrath-Phillips Arena. Genesis Reyes had one of her best matches in a DePaul uniform in the match, hitting .500 with seven kills.