Sophomore Natalie Rizzo leads the Blue Demons in blocks this season.
Nov. 10, 2011
CHICAGO - After compiling a 1-1 record in its last weekend at the McGrath-Phillips Arena, the DePaul volleyball team hits the road for its final two matches of its 2011 BIG EAST Conference campaign. The Blue Demons head to Syracuse for a 6 p.m. match on Friday before traveling to Marquette for a 2 p.m. contest on Sunday.
For their final weekend of play, the Blue Demons plan to "leave it all on the court," head coach Nadia Edwards said. With just two contests the remaining, DePaul finds itself outside of the BIG EAST Conference tournament picture and hopes to end the season on a high note against two of the better teams in the league. Up first for DePaul is Syracuse, a team that currently holds a 17-11 overall record while garnering a 6-6 mark in the BIG EAST.
"Against Syracuse, we need to bring our focus, our energy, and our confidence at the start," Edwards noted. "In my opinion, it's the last weekend of the year for us so we don't want to be saving anything.
"We just want to go out this weekend, turn it up, function on all cylinders, and have everybody ready to go--ready to play hard."
That desired effort is likely to come from a number of sources. Three Blue Demons seniors -- Lauren Blasi, Molly Creek, and Sammy Geiger -- are all set to compete in the final matches of their collegiate careers while a number of underclassmen look to continue their strong play.
Junior libero Kelsey Bowler, who presently has the sixth-most digs in BIG EAST action with 204, has served as an anchor for the Blue Demons defense. The Naperville, Ill., native is the only Blue Demon to have competed in all 95 sets for DePaul this year, though Blasi has neared that feat, playing in 94.
Sophomore Natalie Rizzo has also been a major contributor on the defensive front as she has tallied the sixth-most blocks in league matches (46.0 total).
On the offensive side of the ball, freshman Amy Lanski leads all Blue Demons in kills with 263--over 100 more than any of her DePaul teammates. Geiger and freshman Katie Gamsky have shared the setting duties for the Blue Demons, compiling 371 and 441 assists, respectively.
After Friday's contest, the DePaul squad must head to Milwaukee, Wis., to face off Marquette, a team that spent most of the season in first place in the BIG EAST but currently holds at the number two position. The Golden Eagles have collected an imposing 10-2 record in the BIG EAST while amassing a 20-8 record overall.
"When we bring it together and we play with confidence, we can definitely compete," Edwards said. "I think we have to approach that match [against Marquette] like we have absolutely nothing to lose so we might as well go in there and play hard."
Notes: DePaul's seven wins are its most since 2008 when it also collected seven...the Blue Demons' three conference victories are their most since 2008 also when they compiled four BIG EAST wins...DePaul trails Syracuse 6-1 in the all-time series but leads Marquette 29-19.
Blue Demons Leaders
Attacks: Lanski (753)
Kills: Lanski (263)
Assists: Gamsky (441)
Digs: Bowler (405)
Service Aces: Bowler (13)
Blocks: Rizzo (86.0)