DePaul Wraps Up Season with St. John's, Rutgers

Nov. 8, 2012

Friday, November 9       Sunday, November 11

St. John's Red Storm
Opponent Record: 20-10 (7-7 BIG EAST)*
Field:Carnesecca Arena 
Location: Queens, N.Y.
Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
All-time Series: St. John's leads, 7-2



Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Opponent Record: 18-11 (4-10 BIG EAST)*
Field: McGrath-Phillips Arena
Location: Chicago, Ill.
When: 1:00 p.m. CST
All-time Series: Rutgers leads, 5-4


*denotes record as of November 8

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CHICAGO - The Blue Demons will close out a three-match road swing at St. John's on Friday at 6:00 p.m. before returning home for their season finale against Rutgers at 1:00 p.m in McGrath-Phillips Arena.

On Sunday, DePaul will be celebrating Senior Day by honoring middle blocker Rachel Aumann for her contributions to the program.

Now 8-18 overall (3-10 BIG EAST), DePaul has won its most matches since the 2004 season when the team went 12-19. The squad's three BIG EAST wins are also just one off the program mark of four, set during the 2008 season. Additionally, the Blue Demons have claimed 40 sets in 2012 - easily eclipsing last year's total of 29.

Over the past three weekends the Blue Demons have accumulated a pair of four-set wins over South Florida and Villanova and are 2-4 in their past six BIG EAST contests.

Last Time Out
The DePaul volleyball team dropped its third straight match in a 3-0 setback at Seton Hall on Sunday in Walsh Gymnasium.

Senior Rachel Aumann led the Blue Demons with eight kills while junior Natalie Rizzo added six terminations at a .333 clip. Freshman Aubree Hord led the team in two categories, posting 15 assists and eight digs. DePaul out-blocked Seton Hall, 7-3.

Scouting the Red Storm
DePaul travels to Jamaica, N.Y. after dropping their home match with St. John's, 3-1, on October 6 at McGrath-Phillips Arena. Vesela Zapryanova put up 12 kills to lead the Blue Demons, but the Red Storm took the match 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20.

St. John's has split their past four since weathering a five match losing streak after beating DePaul. Particularly strong at home (9-4), the Red Storm's top three offensive options all have 295+ kills for the season. Karin Palgutova leads the team with 339 kills on a .280 attacking percentage, while Aleksandra Wachowicz (318 kills) and Milica Krstojevic (295 kills) have also aided offense.

Sabina Piegza directs the offense and has 2,181 assists while Gabriela Petkova's 404 digs pace the defense.

St. John's leads the all-time series 7-2.

Scouting the Scarlet Knights
Rutgers is coming off a four-set loss to Marquette on Sunday, snapping a two-match win streak. The Scarlet Knights split their weekend matches after holding off a DePaul comeback, 3-2, on Saturday. Senior Rachel Aumann led the Blue Demons with 15 kills and hit .517 in the match, but Rutgers rallied to take the fifth set after DePaul battled back from a 2-0 deficit.

Freshman Sarah Schmid ranks fourth in the conference with a .360 attack percentage. Setter Stephanie Zielinski is one of the best distributors in the BIG EAST, ranking second in the league with 1,234 assists (11.12 per set).

Rutgers leads the all-time series 5-4.

Double-Double Trouble
Two newcomers, junior transfer Vesela Zapryanova (7) and freshman Callie Huebener (5), have combined for 12 kill-dig double-doubles in 26 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' 26 matches, DePaul has gathered 20 double-doubles total and has at least one in 18 competitions -- including 11 of its past 15.

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 (314), kills per set (3.14) and total attempts (929). The Sofia, Bulgaria-native also leads in aces (26) and is second in digs (248).

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 with a .311 hitting percentage (170 kills, 49 errors, 389 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 tied for second on the team with 25 ace serves.



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