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DePaul Volleyball Seeing Double in BIG EAST Road Weekend
Colleen Smith recorded her fourth double-double of the season in Friday's win versus St. John's.


Colleen Smith recorded her fourth double-double of the season in Friday's win versus St. John's.

Nov. 15, 2013

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CHICAGO - One week after hosting St. John's and Seton Hall in Lincoln Park, DePaul volleyball heads to the East Coast for rematches with both schools in the team's final road trip of the season.

The Blue Demons sit at 16-10 overall and 2-10 in the BIG EAST after a split last weekend in a pair of five-setters. DePaul came back from an 0-2 deficit in Friday's match to defeat St. John's, and nearly duplicated the feat on Sunday but fell in a deciding fifth set against Seton Hall.

Still just two games out of fifth-place in the conference, the Blue Demons will be looking to make a jump in the standings this weekend after finally snapping a season-high six match losing streak on Friday. With just four matches remaining in the season, the standings from 5th to 9th are all still up for grabs.

Following this weekend, DePaul will be back home Nov. 22-23 to cap the regular season with home matches against Butler and Xavier.

Series Histories
The Blue Demons trail the Red Storm 7-4 in the all-time series, but picked up a win last Friday behind senior Natalie Rizzo, who posted a career-high 20 kills in a 3-2 decision. Colleen Smith also posted her fourth double-double of the season with 51 assists and 12 digs. Allyson Rooks led the match with 22 digs.

Against Seton Hall, the team is still looking for their first win in the series and trails 9-0 all-time.

DePaul was swept in the last road meeting between the two on Nov. 4, 2012. The Blue Demons hit just .083, but out-blocked the Pirates 7-3.
   
Scouting The Red Storm
St. John’s comes into the weekend 15-13 (4-8) in a two-way tie for fifth-place in the conference after a 1-1 road weekend against Marquette and DePaul.

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 4.45 kills per set. Aleksandra Wachowicz is a solid second option and ranks fourth in the conference with 3.65 kps.

Defensively, the team ranks last in the BIG EAST with 13.39 digs per set but libero Shawna-Lei Santos is fourth overall with 4.79 dps.
   
Scouting The Pirates
Seton Hall enters the weekend 13-14 and 4-8 in the BIG EAST after splitting a 1-1 road weekend against Marquette and DePaul.

Junior Shelbey Manthorpe, a preseason All-BIG EAST pick, just missed a triple-double in last week’s meeting with 40 assists, 11 kills and nine digs.

Offensively, the Pirates have two different options averaging at least 2.30 kills per set. Stacey Manthorpe is the top option with 2.55 kps while Amanda Hansen ranks second on the team with 257 kills and a .257 hitting percentage.

Libero Alyssa Warren leads the BIG EAST in digs per set (5.08). As a team, the Pirates rank second overall in the BIG EAST with 16.76 dps.

Efficiency Matters
One of the most efficient teams in the country, DePaul sported a .256 hitting percentage through 26  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 11 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 3.98 digs per set and has posted double-digit dig totals in eight of her past nine matches.