DePaul Falls to Western Kentucky, 3-0
CHICAGO - The DePaul volleyball team stumbled during its second match of the DePaul Invitational, dropping a 3-0 decision against Western Kentucky (8-4, 0-0 Sun Belt). In the first match of the morning session, Sacramento State defeated Eastern Michigan, 3-1.
The Blue Demons could not overcome the overwhelming attack effort from the quartet of Hilltopper hitters, Jordyn Skinner, Abbie Siljendahl, Emily Teegarden and Lauren Stuckel. Together, they accounted for 38 of the team's 49 kills while all hitting over .300.
DePaul (6-6, 0-0 BIG EAST) was paced by Sarah Cullen, who tallied nine kills and just two errors. Christy Landschoot led the defense with 10 digs, while Chandler Carney totaled three blocks.
Despite hitting an impressive .357 (14-4-28) team attack percentage, the Blue Demons were overshadowed by Western Kentucky's 17 kills and just two errors in the opening game. Beyond that, the squads were neck and neck the entire set, trading the lead three times while being knotted up on seven occasions.
DePaul shot out to a strong start, taking a 4-1 advantage after back-to-back kills from Sammy Geiger and Cullen. The Blue Demons continued to surge forward, until a 4-0 Hilltopper run tied the score at 10. DePaul would retake the lead at 13-12 behind another put away from Cullen, but a service error and timely kill out of Siljendahl would but Western Kentucky back on top. Cullen recorded a service ace to threaten the Hilltopper's lead at 24-23, but a final put down from Teegarden would give Western Kentucky the first-stanza win.
Despite only seven kills in the second game, DePaul managed to keep the score close as they capitalized on six Hilltopper service errors. The Blue Demons went on the defensive, out blocking Western Kentucky 5-1. While attack errors remained low for DePaul, they could get by the 18 kills registered by the other side of the net and entered the break with a two-game deficit.
The Hilltoppers did not lose an ounce of momentum heading out in the third. They blasted out to 16-6 lead behind their tenacious offence and relentless defense. Lindsay Williamson and Stuckel denied the attack to clinch the match and give Western Kentucky a 2-0 weekend record entering into the evening session.
The Blue Demons and Sacramento State return to the court a 7:30 p.m. (CST) in a battle for second place. The Hilltoppers conclude their weekend against Eastern Michigan at 5:00 p.m.
Notes: Cullen has eclipsed the double-digit kill total eight times this season... DePaul is currently 3-2 in five-game matches after going 2-6 the entire 2008 season... Sarah Cullen has registered a double-double (kills-digs) in seven matches this season bringing her career total to 34... Kate Letcher has been named to every all-tournament team of the season thus far... Sammy Geiger raised her career-best kill total to 13 during the victory over NC State and finished the weekend with 33... Cullen tops the team in five categories including kills, attempts, points, digs, and service aces... she also leads the time with a .955 receiving percentage.