DePaul Volleyball Hosts Pair of BIG EAST Opponents

Oct. 25, 2012

Friday, October 26       Sunday, October 28
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South Florida Bulls
Opponent Record: 13-10 (5-5 BIG EAST)*
Field: McGrath-Phillips Arena 
Location: Chicago, Ill.
Time: 7 p.m. CST
All-time Series: USF leads, 15-5



Pittsburgh Panthers
Opponent Record: 13-11 (4-6 BIG EAST)*
Field: McGrath-Phillips Arena
Location: Chicago, Ill.
When: 2:00 p.m. CST
All-time Series: Pitt leads, 9-0


*denotes record as of October 25

DePaul Notes Get Acrobat Reader

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
Georgetown outlasted DePaul 3-0 (27-25, 25-20, 25-17) on Sunday to snap a 13-match losing streak.

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.

Team Notes
• Two Blue Demons set career-highs for digs in the win over Villanova: Allyson Rooks (26) and Vesela Zapryanova (21). Genesis Reyes also tied her career best with 16 digs.
• As a team, the Blue Demons dug a season-high 92 balls against `Nova. It was the team's most digs since digging 90 balls on September 26 versus Green Bay.
Laura Witt and Vesela Zapryanova both recorded double-doubles over the weekend and are tied for the team lead with six apiece. Witt posted 19 assists and 12 digs on Friday at Villanova, while Zapryanova notched 12 kills and 10 digs on Sunday at Georgetown.
• Hitting percentage has been the key stat for DePaul this season. When the Blue Demons outhit an opponent they are 6-1, but when the opposite occurs the Blue Demons are 0-14.

Scouting the Bulls
Winners of 3-of-4, the Bulls are coming off a weekend split with UConn (L, 3-2) and St. John's (W, 3-1).

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
The Panthers have lost 2-of-3, but are coming off a weekend home split with St. John's (W, 3-0) and UConn (L, 3-1). Pitt uses the serve as a weapon and ranks second in the BIG EAST with 116 (1.40 per set).

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.

Double-Double Trouble
Two newcomers, junior transfer Vesela Zapryanova (6) and freshman Callie Huebener (4), have combined for 10 kill-dig double-doubles in 22 matches.

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).

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 (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
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 .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.

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 17 matches as a starter, and for the past 18 overall. She also set a career-high, getting under 26 balls in a 3-1 win against Villanova on October 19.



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