DePaul Volleyball Hits Road to Face Rutgers, Seton Hall

Nov. 2, 2012

Saturday, November 3       Sunday, November 4

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Opponent Record: 17-9 (3-8 BIG EAST)*
Venue: College Avenue Gym 
Location: New Brunswick, N.J.
Time: 1 p.m. CST
All-time Series: Tied, 4-4



Seton Hall Pirates
Opponent Record: 17-7 (5-6 BIG EAST)*
Venue: Walsh Gymnasium
Location: South Orange, N.J.
When: 1:00 p.m. CST
All-time Series: Seton Hall leads, 7-0


*denotes record as of November 2

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CHICAGO - The Blue Demons embark on a three-match road swing, beginning in the state of New Jersey with matches against Rutgers and Seton Hall on Saturday and Sunday. Match times are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT on both days.

The Blue Demons enter the weekend playing some of their best volleyball of the season, putting up a 2-2 record over their past four BIG EAST Conference matches. Over the past two weekends, DePaul has a pair of four-set wins over South Florida and Villanova.

Now 8-16 overall (3-8 BIG EAST), DePaul has won its most matches since the 2004 season when the team went 12-19 overall. The squad's three BIG EAST wins are also just one off the program mark of four, set during the 2008 season.

Additionally, DePaul has claimed 38 set wins in 2012 eclipsing last year's total of 29.

The Blue Demons will be trying to improve their 2-4 road mark and looking for the program's first-ever win against Seton Hall. The Pirates lead the all-time series 7-0.

Last Time Out
The DePaul women's volleyball team was barely edged by visiting Pittsburgh in five sets (17-25, 25-18, 7-25, 25-17, 13-15) on Sunday afternoon. The Blue Demons took the second and fourth sets from the Panthers, but Pittsburgh won the deciding fifth set by a 15-13 score.

Junior Vesela Zapryanova tied for the match-high with 15 kills as Callie Huebener recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 14 kills and 10 digs.

Blue Demons Among BIG EAST Leaders
Vesela Zapryanova now ranks eighth in the BIG EAST with 301 kills. The junior is also ninth in ace serves (26, 0.28 per set).
• Junior Allyson Rooks is 10th in the BIG EAST with 26 ace serves and 0.28 per set.
Natalie Rizzo ranks 10th in the BIG EAST with a .312 attack percentage.

Scouting the Scarlet Knights
Rutgers is coming off a dramatic five-set win over St. John's in its last match, but had lost eight of its previous 10 prior to beating the Red Storm. As a team, Rutgers excels defensively and ranks second in the BIG EAST with 17.16 digs per set.

Sarah Schmid ranks second in the conference with a .359 attack percentage and leads Rutgers with 332 kills. Settter Stephanie Zielinski (1,148 assists) also comes in second with 11.25 assists per set.

The all-time series is tied 4-4.

Scouting the Pirates
Seton Hall enters the weekend having lost 6-of-8 after running off a season-long 12 match winning streak earlier in the season. A strong defensive team, the Pirates rank third in the BIG EAST in digs (17.14 per set) and fourth in blocks (2.30 per set).

Individually, Alyssa Warren ranks second in the conference with 5.80 digs per set and 557 overall. Sisters Stacey (277 kills)and Shelbey Manthorpe (201 kills, 711 assists), both sophomores, pace the offense. Morgan DeVries leads the squad at the net with 86 total blocks.

Seton Hall leads the all-time series 7-0.

Double-Double Trouble
Two newcomers, junior transfer Vesela Zapryanova (6) and freshman Callie Huebener (5), have combined for 11 kill-dig double-doubles in 24 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' 24 matches, DePaul has gathered 19 double-doubles total and has at least one in 17 competitions -- including 10 of its past 13.

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 (301), kills per set (3.27) and total attempts (880). The Sofia, Bulgaria-native also leads in aces (26) and is second in digs (235). 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 10th in the BIG EAST with a .312 hitting percentage (161 kills, 46 errors, 369 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.



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