Blue Demons Fall To Minnesota In NCAA Tournament
Cedar Falls, Iowa – The DePaul volleyball team fell to Minnesota 30-25, 30-25, 30-27 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Demons finish the season with a 24-9 record and became the second team in the history of the program to make the NCAA’s.
Minnesota never trailed in game one jumping out to an early 5-2 lead. The Blue Demons closed the gap on several occasions to one point before finally knotting the game up at 19-19. The Golden Gophers rallied scoring 11 of the game’s final 16 points to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Senior Melissa Nordine led the Blue Demons with four kills in the game. Freshman Trisha Bratford and senior Stephanie Hagen tallied six kills apiece for the Gophers.
The Blue Demons rallied in game two taking an early 7-5 lead. However, Minnesota scored the next six points to grab an 11-7 lead. The Blue Demons rallied back scoring 12 of the next 17 points to take a 19-16 lead, but Hagen was too much once again as the Gophers pulled out a 30-27 victory. Hagen led the Gophers with seven kills in the game.
DePaul never led in the third game as Minnesota finished the match off with a 30-25 victory. With the Blue Demons trailing 9-8, the Golden Gophers went on a 7-2 run to take a commanding 16-10 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Blue Demons closed the lead to 21-18, but Minnesota pulled away at the end to advance to the second round of the tournament.
"Minnesota is a great team and they played well," said head coach Dawn Dockstader. "Hagen is a great player. They outplayed us and executed better than we did."
Hagen finished with 20 kills and a .621 hitting percentage while Bratford pounded 15 kills and 12 digs.
Senior Stephanie Bishop led the Blue Demons with nine kills. Sophomore Lara Marks finished with eight kills and a .438 hitting percentage and senior Kara Jakusz finished with five kills and 34 assists.