Volleyball's BIG EAST Road Swing Continues at Creighton
Oct. 10, 2013
CHICAGO – Coming off a road sweep at Georgetown in their last outing, the Blue Demon volleyball team heads to Omaha, Neb. to face Creighton as conference rivals for the first time Friday evening.
First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT.
DePaul enters the match 14-2 and 1-2 in BIG EAST play, while the Bluejays sit at 10-4 and 1-1 in the conference. Creighton is currently receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll after being ranked for all of the non-conference portion of its schedule.
It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2001 and DePaul will come in riding a hot streak – the Blue Demons have jumped out to the best start in program history and have won 16-of-18 matches dating back to 2012.
After last weekend’s road action, sophomore right side Abbie Fleener was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the first time in her career after hitting .450 during a 1-1 weekend. The Blue Demons have now picked up a weekly honor from the conference in each of the season’s six weeks.
Following the trip to Omaha, Neb., the Blue Demons return home for a midweek non-conference matchup against Green Bay on Wednesday, Oct. 15. Match time is set for 6 p.m. CT inside McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Scouting The Bluejays
Coming off a four-set win at Xavier, their first BIG EAST win in program history, the Bluejays also dropped a 3-1 result at Butler last weekend. Hitting .226 as a team, CU ranks atop the BIG EAST and fourth in the NCAA in blocks (2.94 per set).
Junior MB Kelli Browning leads the charge with 76 total blocks (1.43 per set), numbers which place her eighth nationally and first in the BIG EAST. Freshman Lauren Smith has also been a standout, ranking second in the BIG EAST and 52nd in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.376).
A year ago, CU went 29-4, won the MVC and finished 24th in the AVCA year-end poll. They are currently receiving votes after being ranked in the Top 25 for much of the preseason.
In their last outing, a 3-0 win at Georgetown, the Blue Demons hit .330 – their highest hitting percentage against a BIG EAST opponent since connecting at a .353 clip on Nov. 16, 2008 (a 3-1 home win versus St. John’s).
DePaul has hit at least .310 in 10-of-16 matches after cracking .300 just four times last season.
On Sept. 9, senior Vesela Zapryanova made pro¬gram history by becoming the first DePaul volleyball student-athlete to be voted BIG EAST Player of the Week. Two weeks later, Abbie Fleener joined her by winning the award on Sept. 23.
Fleener grabbed the Blue Demons’ most recent award on Monday, Oct. 7 when she was named to the weekly honor roll, becoming the fourth DePaul volleyball player to earn the recognition in 2013.
Busting Out The Brooms
Its latest sweep, a 3-0 win at Georgetown, was the first BIG EAST sweep since Oct. 28, 2011 at St. John’s and just the sixth since the program joined the conference in 2005.
DePaul won its first three matches of the year via the sweep, marking its first back-to-back-to-back sweeps since 2003 when the Blue Demons beat SE Missouri State, Drake and UIC from Sept. 13-Sept. 16.
The program record for consecutive 3-0 wins and total sweeps was set in 1991 when the Blue Demons won five sweeps in a row from Nov. 8-Nov. 16 and 22 overall.
Getting Off On The Good Foot
The 15 straight wins represents the second-longest winning streak in program history, trailing only the 1978 team’s 16-match stretch without a loss.
Charla Drabant, a Freshman of the Week selection in 2007, was the only previous DePaul student-athlete to be awarded a BIG EAST weekly honor.
Adding to her trophy case prior to the year, Zapryanova also laid claim to the honor of being the first preseason All-BIG EAST selection in program history.
The Sofia, Bulgaria-native has also been selected to the BIG EAST Honor Roll twice this season and four times in her two years in Lincoln Park.
In a Sept. 25 road win at UIC, Zapryanova landed a career high-tying 22 kills in just three sets — the most by a DePaul student-athlete in a three-setter since at least 2005 and the most by any BIG EAST player in 2013.
As of Tuesday, she was ranked fourth in the confer¬ence in kills (3.82 per set) and aces (0.38 per set), as well as fourth in points (4.48 per set).
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