Volleyball Drops Heartbreaker to Western Illinois
CHICAGO The DePaul volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 (20-30, 30-28, 30-26, 25-30, 13-15) loss to Western Illinois, Tuesday at McGrath Arena. The Blue Demons have lost four straight and fall to 4-9, while the Westerwinds improve to 4-8 on the season.
Statistically, DePaul outplayed Western Illinois; tallying 86 kills to the Westerwinds 68. The Blue Demons also recorded a .289 attack percentage while holding WIU to a .223 percentage. However, timely service errors plagued the Blue Demons as they committed 15 during the five-game grudge match.
The trio of -- freshmen Charla Drabant, Jacie Fiedler and sophomore Sarah Cullen were on fire as they accounted for 64 of DePaul's kills. Drabant was unstoppable, pacing all players and tying a career-high with 28 kills for a .393 attack percentage. Cullen followed with 19 kills for a .264 hitting percentage and Fiedler added 17 with a .324 percentage.
The Blue Demons were on a mission in the first game as they combined for 21 kills and an unprecedented .529 attack percentage. The squad took the lead from the first point and sailed to a 30-20 victory behind Fiedler's six kills and scorching .750 hitting percentage. Drabant followed closely with five kills for a .667 attack percentage.
Western Illinois' offense heated up in the second and third games as the Blue Demons' cooled off.
Game two was highlighted with impressive and hard fought rallies. Winning the first couple points, the Westerwinds jumped out to a 10-6 advantage, but the Blue Demons fought back and tied the game at 18 on freshman libero Katherine Knutson's service ace. The two teams traded side outs and Western Illinois would face game point three times before it won the game, 30-28 on an Emily Harrison kill.
DePaul and WIU battled through six tie scores and four lead changes before the Westerwinds took the third game 30-26. Tied a 26, the Westerwinds rallied off four straight points to seal their victory.
The fourth game was again highlighted with early ties, but Cullen's efficient hitting provided the Blue Demons with the push they needed. Tied at 11, DePaul strung together a 10-5 run to steal WIU's momentum. The Blue Demons picked-up a 30-25 win on the heels of Cullen's seven kills and sizzling .333 attack percentage.
The Blue Demons found themselves in a hole to begin the fifth game as the Westerwinds jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a DePaul attack error and a pair of kills from Michelle Downey. WIU continued to build its lead and took 12-9 advantage on Sarah Trimpe's kill. Drabant and junior Caitlin Callaghan answered with four kills in the final points, but WIU held on to win the game and match, 15-13.
Knutson led all players with 26 digs. Drabant chipped in 21 and freshman setter Christy Landschoot followed with 11 digs. Landschoot also recorded a career-high 72 assists.
Bakker led WIU with 19 kills while three other Westerwinds finished with double-digit kill totals.
The Blue Demons begin BIG EAST Conference play this weekend in Morgantown, West Virginia. DePaul clashes with the Mountaineers on Friday at 6 p.m. (CST) and travels to Pittsburgh for a 1 p.m. match with the Panthers on Sunday.