Blue Demons Fall at Villanova
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Despite a match-high .567 attack percentage by DePaul middle blocker Jacie Fiedler, the Blue Demons dropped a 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-15) BIG EAST Conference match at Villanova on Sunday at the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse.
DePaul falls to 3-19 and 1-8 in conference play, while the Wildcats improve to 13-11 and 4-4 in league action.
Fiedler paced the floor with a season-high 17 kills as she registered zero attack errors in 30 swings. The sophomore also dominated from behind the service line as she accounted for five of the Blue Demons’ seven service aces. Sarah Cullen turned in her 14th double-double of the season as she tallied 14 kills and 14 digs.
Capitalizing on seven early unforced errors by the Wildcats the Blue Demons raced out to a 12-8 advantage in the first set. The Blue Demons held onto their four point advantage and took a 17-13 lead on a Wildcat service error.
Following the Villanova service error, the Wildcats went on a 7-3 run and knotted the stanza at 20 which forced DePaul to use its final timeout. Following the break, Villanova rallied off three unanswered points before Fiedler stopped action with her third kill of the set. The Wildcats would face set point three times before taking the first frame 25-23 on Morgan Petkovich ninth kills of the set.
The second set was highlighted with big hits and long rallies as it was tied 10 times. Tied a 17, the Wildcats scored three unanswered points to swing the momentum in their favor. Villanova finished the stanza on a 5-3 run for a 25-20 victory.
With the match on the line Fiedler and Cullen came alive for the Blue Demons as the duo combined for 11 of the team’s 16 kills in the third set. Tied a 13, Villanova committed a service error for the final lead change of the set.
With a 14-13 advantage the Blue Demons went on a 8-4 run which was fueled by kills from Kate Letcher, Cullen and Fiedler. Fiedler also chipped in back-to-back service aces during DePaul’s run. Cullen put an exclamation point on the frame with a set-point kill that gave the Blue Demons a 25-22 third stanza victory.
Villanova bounced back in the final set. The Blue Demons took an early 7-5 advantage, but stalled out as the Wildcats went on a 14-2 run to put the set out of reach. Villanova won the final frame 25-15.
Caitlin Callaghan paced the Blue Demons and the floor with 19 digs while both Dana Tartazky and Kim Maroon notched 16 digs for the Wildcats.
The Blue Demons return to Lincoln Park and host rival Marquette and Syracuse next weekend. Marquette and DePaul tangle on Saturday, while the Orange visit on Sunday. Both conference matches are slated to begin at 2 p.m.
Notes: Sarah Cullen has finished the last seven matches with double-digit kill totals while she has recorded double-digit kills in all but two matches this season ... Cullen has 14 double-doubles (kills-digs) this season and 22 in her career...Jacie Fiedler has registered double-digit kill totals in 14 of the Blue Demons’ 22 matches, while she has finished 29 career matches in double-digit kill totals... Villanova leads the all-time series with DePaul 4-0.