DePaul Host Conference Opener
0pt">CHICAGO – DePaul opens conference play this weekend facing two of the top C-USA teams, Cincinnati and Louisville. The Blue Demons will battle the Bearcats on Friday at 7p.m. and the Cardinals at 7p.m. on Saturday.
The jump to conference means a fresh start for DePaul. Entering with a 3-12 overall record, the Blue Demons are able to wipe the slate clean and prepare for a whole new season.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” says Coach Dawn Dockstader of her team’s season. “This team needs to be excited for conference play. We are presented with an opportunity for a second season where everyone in the league starts off new.”
DePaul’s young team has grown by leaps and bounds in preseason and continues to strive for goals set high.
“We have gotten better, we’ve learned a lot this season. I knew that the graduation of a huge class last year wasn’t going to be easy. We weren’t going to pick up where we left off. Not only did we lose players that were giving us numbers but we lost the intangibles namely, veteran leadership.”
The young Blue Demons are slowly turning it around and making a name for themselves.
“I’m seeing now that those essentials are starting to come around. There is a renewed sense of energy and determination. That’s what is great about conference play beginning; we can still reach a lot of our goals. We’re also hosting the conference tournament, which is a huge advantage for us. Our team can use it as incentive for all of conference play.”
The Scouting Report
Reed Sunahara whose third season as head coach has seen much success leads Cincinnati. The Bearcats have posted a record of 7-6 and two weeks ago claimed the crown at the Coors Classic in Fort Collins, Colorado. Top hitters for the team include Julie DuPont who posted 26 kills in their last match against Louisville, Bonita Wise and Trish Ladusaw who have both given the Bearcats 152 kills this season. Leading the defense at the net is Rachel Torblaa who put up six successful blocks against Louisville. Laura Lauder who set an amazing 59 assists in their last match directs Cincinnati’s hitters.
Louisville is coached by Leonid Yelin whose Cardinals have recorded 10 wins and only three losses this season. Sophomore Bing Sun continues to notch kills for Louisville having posted 22 in their match against Cincinnati. Freshman Lena Ustymenko, only 15 years old, has been the Cardinals number two, with 131 kills so far this season. Quarterbacking for the team is Jennifer Craven who boasts 612 assists for the season. Defensively, the Cardinals are led by Sarah Drury who has racked up and incredible 230 digs. Drury leads Conference USA in single match highs with 39 digs against Cincinnati.