Volleyball Faces Test Against South Florida
Chicago (October 12)-- A battle between the holders of second place in the American and National Divisions will pit DePaul 14-5 (5-2 Conference USA) against South Florida 13-4 (6-1 C-USA) in Tampa, Fla. this Friday. Not only will the match have ramifications that may influence seeding in the conference tournament, but the intensity level will be heightened due to a larger than normal crowd.
South Florida will be hosting its midnight madness program for its basketball teams later in the evening and as a result some of those fans are expected to arrive early and watch the volleyball match.
"It's going to be loud and obnoxious like it was two years ago when we were scheduled on the same night as midnight madness," said head coach Dawn Dockstader. "But, it was the same way for them last year when we played here and our midnight madness followed the match. We're looking forward to it because a crowd can add that extra intensity to a match."
This won't be the first time the Blue Demons have faced a hostile crowd this season. The team squared off with Illinois in its home opener before 1,500 hostile Illini fans. DePaul dropped that match, but not before making its in-state rival earn the victory in five games.
On paper, Dockstader believes both teams are nearly equal. "I think the two of us are very evenly matched," she said. "They have a very balanced attack, as do we, and when you look at our numbers they are very similar."
The largest challenge facing the Blue Demons will be defending Bulls' standout Michelle Collier. Collier was named C-USA freshman of the year in 1998 and redshirted last year after an ACL injury. This year she has returned to form and is currently fourth in the nation in kills per game (5.94). Collier is also the conference leader in aces per game (0.57) and fifth in digs (3.75 dpg).
"Collier's numbers speak for themselves. She's a very good player and one we'll have to contend with to play well," said Dockstader.
Two others Dockstader named as players to focus on were middle blockers Rachelle Paul and Crissy Bush. "Rachelle is a different kind of middle because she's 5-8, but she can jump out of the gym. Crissy on the other hand gives them another look and it's one of the reasons they're effective on offense," said Dockstader.
The match begins at 7 p.m. Friday with the Blue Demons hosting Houston at 2 p.m. on Sunday.