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Volleyball Returns Home to Face Red Storm, Pirates
Freshman Randi Leath ranks eighth in the BIG EAST with a .305 hitting percentage.

Freshman Randi Leath ranks eighth in the BIG EAST with a .305 hitting percentage.

Nov. 7, 2013

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CHICAGO - DePaul volleyball looks to get back on track in conference play this weekend, hosting BIG EAST foes St. John's and Seton Hall at McGrath-Phillips Arena.

Friday’s match against the Red Storm is set for 3 p.m., while the Blue Demons will face the Pirates on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Sitting at 15-9, DePaul has lost a season-high six straight entering the weekend. The stretch has been particularly tough to stomach after the Blue Demons began the season with 13 straight wins. Overall, the team has won 17 of its past 26 matches dating back to 2012.

Following the pair of home matches, DePaul will be back on the road Nov. 16-17 to face the same two opponents in the exact same order. Only two home dates remain in the regular season after the East Coast trip.

Series Histories
The Blue Demons trail the Red Storm 7-3 in the all-time series, but picked up a win behind Vesela Zapryanova’s double-double (19 kills, 10 digs) in the last meeting — a 3-1 decision in Queens, N.Y. on Nov. 9, 2012. Current senior Allyson Rooks had 16 digs in the matchup, while sophomore Abbie Fleener added nine kills and four block assists.

Against Seton Hall, the team is still looking for their first win in the series and 8-0 all-time.

DePaul was swept on the road in the last meeting between the two on Nov. 4, 2012. The Blue Demons hit just .083, but out-blocked the Pirated 7-3.

Scouting The Red Storm
St. John’s comes into the weekend in a four-way tie for fifth-place in the conference, but most recently knocked off Creighton in a 3-2 road match that resulted in sophomore OH Yaidy Santiago being named BIG EAST Player of the Week.

Offensively, the Red Storm ranks fourth in the BIG EAST with a .242 attack percentage. Karin Palgutova is the main option and leads the conference with 4.43 kills per set. Aleksandra Wachowicz is a solid second option and ranks third in the conference with 3.73 kps.

Defensively, the team ranks last in the BIG EAST with 13.43 digs per set but libero Shawna-Lei Santos is third overall with 4.90 dps.

Scouting The Pirates
Seton Hall enters the weekend 12-13 and 3-7 in the BIG EAST and has lost three-of-four. On the road, however, SHU has won four-of-five.

Junior Shelbey Manthorpe, a preseason All-BIG EAST pick, leads the team with 17 double-doubles.

Offensively, the Pirates have three different options averaging at least 2.30 kills per set. Manthorpe is the top option with 2.51 and a .265 hitting percentage, but Amanda Hansen leads the team with 244 kills.

Libero Alyssa Warren leads the BIG EAST in digs per set (5.07). As a team, the Pirates rank second overall in the BIG EAST with 16.83 dps.

Efficiency Matters
One of the most efficient teams in the country, DePaul currently sports a .257 hitting percentage through 22 matches – a number ranking third in the BIG EAST Conference and 36th nationally.

In a road outing on Oct. 5, a 3-0 win at Georgetown, the Blue Demons hit .330 – their highest hitting percentage against a BIG EAST opponent since connecting at a .353 clip on Nov. 16, 2008 (a 3-1 home win versus St. John’s).

DePaul has hit at least .310 in 10 matches after cracking .300 just four times last season.

Conference Recognition
The Blue Demons have received a weekly award from the BIG EAST Conference in seven of 10 weeks.

On Sept. 9, senior Vesela Zapryanova made program history by becoming the first DePaul volleyball student-athlete to be voted BIG EAST Player of the Week. Two weeks later, Abbie Fleener joined her by winning the award on Sept. 23.

Natalie Rizzo grabbed the Blue Demons’ most recent award on Monday, Oct. 21 when she was named to the weekly honor roll, marking the fifth time a DePaul student-athlete has earned the recognition in 2013.

Busting Out The Brooms
DePaul has won 10 matches by a 3-0 score so far during the 2013 season, already its most since sweeping 10 contests during the 2000 season.

Its latest sweep, a 3-0 win at Georgetown, was the first BIG EAST sweep since Oct. 28, 2011 at St. John’s and just the sixth since the program joined the conference in 2005.

DePaul won its first three matches of the year via the sweep, marking its first back-to-back-to-back sweeps since 2003 when the Blue Demons beat SE Missouri State, Drake and UIC from Sept. 13-Sept. 16.

The program record for consecutive 3-0 wins and total sweeps was set in 1991 when the Blue Demons won five sweeps in a row from Nov. 8-Nov. 16 and 22 overall.

Rooks Joins 1,000 Dig Club
With her fourth dig vs. Villanova, senior libero Allyson Rooks reached the 1,000-dig plateau for her career in the second set of Sunday’s match.

Prior to Rooks achieving the feat, the last Blue Demon to reach the milestone was Sarah Cullen, who finished her career with 1,151 digs in 2009.

The Zeeland, Mich.-native ranks seventh in the BIG EAST with 3.81 digs per set and has posted double-digit dig totals in seven of her past eight matches.