The DePaul volleyball team is set to take on Notre Dame on Friday night at 7 p.m. before the Blue Madness kickoff.
Oct. 13, 2011
CHICAGO – Continuing a tough stretch of the BIG EAST Conference schedule, the DePaul volleyball team welcomes Notre Dame to the McGrath-Phillips Arena on Friday at 7 p.m., preceding Blue Madness.
Standing at 1-5 in conference and at 4-15 overall, DePaul is aiming for a strong bounce-back effort against their foes from South Bend. In the last nine matches in which these two squads faced off, the Fighting Irish (10-6, 3-3 BIG EAST) have come out victorious, a trend that this year’s Blue Demons look to buck.
“For us, it’s not about win or lose,” DePaul head coach Nadia Edwards said. “It’s about putting our best foot forward and competing hard.”
“That’s what I would like to see from my team,” she continued. “If you focus on the process, the right outcomes will happen.”
The match against Notre Dame is a key part of a full Friday lineup for DePaul athletics. Following a 3 p.m. women’s soccer match at Wish Field, the 7 p.m. volleyball contest is set to go off just before Blue Madness, DePaul’s annual kickoff for the fast-approaching basketball season.
“It’s great to have a good team come in on your home court and have all of the excitement and all of the events that are planned for that night,” Edwards said. “We’re really looking forward to having that representation from our student section.”
DePaul hopes to capitalize on that atmosphere on Friday after two challenging matches last weekend when the Blue Demons went on the road for their first away matches in league play. After falling in three sets to West Virginia on Friday night, the Blue Demons took to the court on Sunday to face Pittsburgh.
Edwards lauded her squad’s bounce-back ability, noting that “after a tough loss against West Virginia,” the Blue Demons were able to “regroup, refocus, and play a better match against Pittsburgh.”
As has been the case for much of the season, DePaul displayed its most commanding efforts against Pitt in the latter sets. After finding itself in a two-match deficit, DePaul rallied back to take the third set by a convincing 25-22 score. Following a tight string of back-and-forth play in the fourth frame, the Blue Demons eventually dropped the set and the match, three sets to one.
Should the Blue Demons capture a set win in the early goings of Friday’s match, the young squad will gain an edge on Notre Dame as the Fighting Irish are just 5-4 in matches that take more than three sets. Half of DePaul’s victories, on the other hand, have come in those demanding five-set affairs.
The Friday night fight against Notre Dame is the Blue Demon’s lone weekend matchup before they travel to Western Illinois on Tuesday for a mid-week, nonconference battle against the Leathernecks at 7 p.m. in Macomb, Ill.
• The Blue Demons have out-blocked their opponents in BIG EAST action, registering 2.0 blocks per set compared to 1.7 blocks per game. DePaul averaged just 1.56 blocks per set in nonconference play.
• Junior libero Kelsey Bowler has averaged 4.22 digs per set so far in conference play.
• Sophomore Natalie Rizzo has knocked down a team-high 16 total blocks in league contests and 52 total blocks this season. Rizzo and senior Lauren Blasi have each registered seven solo blocks overall in 2011.
• Freshman Amy Lanski leads all Blue Demons will 64 kills in BIG EAST action and 201 kills overall.