DePaul Volleyball Hosts Pair of BIG EAST Opponents
Oct. 25, 2012
*denotes record as of October 25
CHICAGO - DePaul volleyball hosts two of its three remaining home matches this weekend at McGrath-Phillips Arena when South Florida comes to town Friday, October 26. The Blue Demons will then face Pittsburgh on Sunday, Oct. 28
Match start is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. against the Bulls, and the Blue Demons will turn around to tip with the Panthers at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The Blue Demons are coming off a 1-1 weekend, splitting a pair at Villanova (W, 3-1) and Georgetown (L, 3-0) and will be looking to best their win total from all of 2011 with a victory. DePaul has already won 33 sets on the year, surpassing last season's total of 29.
The Blue Demons will also be looking to improve upon a 2-7 home record and pick up the program's first-ever win against Pittsburgh as they face the Panthers for the 10th time.
Four BIG EAST matches remain after this weekend with the Demons hitting the road for three of them.
Last Time Out
Junior Vesela Zapryanova recorded her sixth double-double (12 kills, 10 digs) of the season in the setback as junior Allyson Rooks posted 23 digs after digging a career-high 26 in Friday's 3-1 win over Villanova.
Scouting the Bulls
Outside hitters Erin Fairs, Valerie El Houssine and Kayla Walton have each racked up 200+ kills in a diverse offensive attack, while a total of five players have at least 170 kills. Natalia Soares (475 assists) and Wylie Devlin (562 assists) have piloted the offense as Claudia Cabrera paces the defense with 423 digs. A force at the net, Caitlyn Breen is sixth in the BIG EAST with 1.08 blocks per set.
USF has done most of its damage at home, sporting just a 2-4 road record.
The Bulls lead the all-time series, 15-5.
Scouting the Panthers
Five Pitt players are over 118 kills for the season, led by Jessica Wynn (181) and Alexa Campbell (173). Lindsey Zitzke paces the offense with 699 assists and ranks third in the conference with 35 aces, while Margy Acton leads the way on defense with 399 digs.
Pittsburgh enters the match with a 4-5 road record and leads the all-time series, 9-0.
Sophomore setter Laura Witt has also recorded six 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' 22 matches, DePaul has gathered 18 double-doubles total and has at least one in 16 competitions -- including nine of its past 11.
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).
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 (264), kills per set (3.14) and total attempts (799). The Sofia, Bulgaria-native is also third in aces (20) and second in digs (214).
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
The junior middle leads the team and ranks seventh in the BIG EAST with a .327 hitting percentage (153 kills, 41 errors, 342 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 is also second on the team with 22 ace serves.