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Blue Demons Host Irish, Look To Snap Three-Match Slide
Junior libero Allyson Rooks has reached double-digit digs in 15 straight matches.


Junior libero Allyson Rooks has reached double-digit digs in 15 straight matches.

Oct. 11, 2012

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CHICAGO - DePaul volleyball (6-13 overall, 1-5 BIG EAST) will continue its six-match home stand with one more tilt against BIG East rival Notre Dame before hitting the road for matches at Villanova and Georgetown next weekend. The Blue Demons will be looking to avoid tying a season-high four match losing streak.

Match time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

The Blue Demons will also be hosting a pre-game party for attending faculty and staff, beginning at 5:45 p.m. with food, drinks and a chalk talk from head coach Nadia Edwards. The festivities will occur in the Sullivan Athletic Center's Father Munster Conference Room on the second floor. Faculty and staff interested in attending the event can RSVP at VBFacStaffNight.eventbrite.com

Last Time Out
A 19-kill performance by junior Vesela Zapryanova wasn't enough as DePaul volleyball dropped a 3-1 match to visiting Connecticut on Sunday at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

The Blue Demons dropped to 6-13 overall with the setback and are now 1-5 in the BIG EAST Conference. Connecticut improved to 12-8 (3-2 BIG EAST).

Zapryanova was one away from a career-high and had her most efficient match as a Blue Demon, terminating 19 balls on 32 attempts (against just five errors) for a personal best .438 attack percentage. Zapryanova also added seven digs and two block assists in a solid all-around match. Callie Huebener added 12 kills to reach double figures for the sixth time this season.

Scouting the Irish
Notre Dame has won six-of-seven and three straight since losing 3-2 to Marquette on Sept. 29. The Irish are 2-1 on the road in 2012 with their only loss coming to then-No. 4 Nebraska, 3-0.

The Irish are led by a pair of dangerous options in Toni Alugbue (260 kills) and Jeni Houser (239 kills) and have four total players with 100+ kills. An efficient offense, Notre Dame is hitting .249 on the season and has 184.5 total blocks to DePaul's 154.5.

Setter Maggie Brindock leads the offense with 640 assists. Taylor Morey paces the defense with 286 digs.

Notre Dame holds a 14-4 advantage in the series.

Double-Double Trouble
Two newcomers, junior transfer Vesela Zapryanova (5) and freshman Callie Huebener (4), have combined for nine kill-dig double-doubles in the Blue Demons' 19 matches.

Sophomore setter Laura Witt has also recorded five assist-dig double-doubles since Sept. 14. Freshman Aubree Hord picked up her first career double-double (14 assists, 11 digs) at No. 10 Louisville on Friday, Sept. 21 and added another on Saturday, Oct. 6 versus St. John's (13 assists, 10 digs).

In the Demons' 19 matches, DePaul has gathered 16 double-doubles total and has at least one in 14 competitions -- including seven of its past eight.

By comparison, in 2011, the Blue Demons recorded six double-doubles all season. Senior Lauren Blasi led the Blue Demons with two kill-dig double-doubles (Katie Gamsky had four assist-dig double-doubles).

Super `Nova
Junior transfer Vesela Zapryanova has made an instant impact for DePaul. On Monday, Sept. 17, Zapryanova was named to the weekly BIG EAST Honor Roll for her performance at the Loyola Rambler Challenge.

At the two-day tourney, Zapryanova led the Blue Demons to a pair of sweeps and paced the offense with 3.70 kills per set. It was the first BIG EAST weekly award for DePaul volleyball since Sarah Cullen was selected to the honor roll on October 13, 2008.

She leads the team in kills (238), kills per set (3.22) and total attempts (701). The Sofia, Bulgaria-native is also third in aces (16) and second in digs (172).

Zapryanova was named to All-Tournament teams over three straight weekends from Aug. 31-Sept. 15 (First State Skyhawk Invitational, Chicago Classic, Loyola Rambler Challenge).

Rise of Rizzo
After hitting .240 a season ago, Natalie Rizzo has been the most efficient of all DePaul attackers in 2012. The junior middle leads the team and ranks seventh in the BIG EAST with a .340 hitting percentage (133 kills, 35 errors, 288 attempts). The last DePaul offensive player to finish a season over .300 with at least 100 attempts was Jacie Fiedler in 2008 (.356). The Lombard, Ill.-native also leads the Blue Demons with 20 ace serves.

Rooks' Run
Since taking over at libero on September 1 versus Troy, junior Allyson Rooks has been a rock defensively for the Blue Demons. The Zeeland, Mich. native has reached double-digits in dig for the past 14 matches as a starter, and for the past 15 overall. She also set a career-high, getting under 21 balls in a 3-0 win against USC Upstate on September 14.