Pioneers Prevail with Two 3-1 Wins to Go 3-0 in the Season
Denver shows fight against USC Upstate and College of Charleston
Aug. 26, 2017
BOX SCORE (USC UPSTATE) | BOX SCORE (COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON)
Like its morning match, the Pioneers were up against a tough College of Charleston team, who came in to the match with an identical 2-0 record. Denver once again showed its fight, winning the match 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-19), to move to 3-0 on the season. With Hogan as the head coach at DU, the Pioneers are now 10-0 overall when ahead 2-1 after three sets.
Piyusha Boteju paced the Pioneers with 29 assists, four shy of her career-high. She added 10 digs in the match to earn a double-double. DU had four players with 10-plus kills, with Becca Latham setting a career-high of 14, Kayla Principato (12), Lydia Bartalo (10) and Teal Schnurr (10). Bartalo added 12 digs to tie Cassidy Rooke for the team-high in that category, giving Bartalo her first double-double as a Pioneer. Latham had a career-high in digs (5) as well as total attempts (33). Tina Boe had a monster morning at the net, tallying nine total blocks (eight assisted, one solo) to lead DU.
"This was a fantastic win against a very scrappy USC Upstate team," said head coach Tom Hogan. "We used three different lineup formations and learned a lot about our team."
Set One: It was a back-and-forth set between the Spartans and the Pioneers that saw nine ties and three lead changes, with the Crimson and Gold taking the set, 25-23. Latham led DU with five kills, with Ellie Anderson leading the set in assists with eight. Schnurr started off with four kills in the set to tie Principato, and Boteju contributed seven assists of her own. USC Upstate had the lead early on and throughout much of the set, but Denver fought back and found a way. The Pioneers were down 23-20, and would take the next five points. A ball handling error by the Spartans, a block by Boe and Latham and kills by the duo gave DU the 24-23 advantage, and Anderson closed the door on any chance for the Spartans to tie it back up as she hit a service ace to give the Pioneers the set. DU had a hitting percentage of .255, with 17 kills, and had three assisted blocks and one service ace.
Set Two: It was another close set, but the Pioneers were unable to continue the momentum from the first set and dropped its first set of the year, 25-21. The Spartans jumped out to another early lead, 7-4, but the Pioneers again battled back to close the gap. The teams would have four ties before the Spartans started to create separation, forcing Denver to call a timeout at 15-12 and then again at 19-14. DU tried to once again come back and steal the set, getting as close as 23-19, 24-20 and 24-21, but USC Upstate claimed the set with a kill. The Pioneers hit .273 in the set, with Latham contributing four kills and Principato and Bartalo adding three apiece. Boteju recorded seven assists in the set, with Anderson assisting on five points. Olivia Novotny had the most digs in the set for the Pioneers at six.
Set Three: Denver jumped out to an early 6-3 lead off of two kills apiece by Principato and Emma Willis, and extended the lead to 11-4 before USC Upstate started to string together points to make it 11-7. The Pioneers and Spartans would alternate points to make it 14-9, before the Spartans tallied the next four points to bring them within one at 14-13. After a DU timeout, the Pioneers would go on a 4-1 run to make it 18-14, causing USC Upstate to call a timeout of its own. The Spartans would pull as close as 20-16, but the Pioneers closed out the set on a 5-1 run to secure the set at 25-17. Bartalo recorded the last two points of the set with two kills, assisted by Boteju, who had eight assists in the set. DU had a game-high six blocks in the set, led by Boe who had five block assists and one solo block alone. Five of Bartalo's 10 kills came in this set.
Set Four: Bartalo started out the set like she ended set three, getting the Pioneers on the board with another kill, again assisted by Boteju. Again, Denver jumped out to an early 6-4, but like the previous set, USC Upstate made a charge, rallying to score the next five points to make it 9-6. After DU went on a 5-2 run, tying the set at 11 all, the Pioneers would take the next two points to go up 13-11, prompting a timeout by USC Upstate. Latham added two kills and Cassie Baird had one after the timeout to extend the lead to 16-11. The Pioneers closed out the match with a 9-3 run, with a string of five-straight points and with the last four points of the match being scored by the Crimson and Gold. Baird would record six kills in the set, and she also teamed up with Schnurr to record two assisted blocks. The Pioneers hit a game-high .429 in the final set, with 15 kills and only three errors.
"Consistency with the little things on our side of the ball is what we will focus on going forward, and now we will direct all of our attention and focus to the College of Charleston match tonight."
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
"This was a great win against a very good College of Charleston team," said Hogan. "They are favored to win the CAA and their defensive talent was on full display tonight."
Set One: The Pioneers would lead early on in the match, but couldn't hold on to it. After breaking the 6-6 tie with a kill by Schnurr, DU would score three of the next four to take a 10-7 lead. They would extend it to 13-11 before the Cougars went on a run to make it 16-13 in their favor. DU and Charleston would exchange points before the Cougars pulled away to take the set 25-21. The Pioneers pushed Charleston to 23-21, but after a Charleston timeout, they would close the set with the last two points. Like the first point in the first match, Principato scored the first point in this match on a kill, with an assist from Boteju. Latham would go on to lead the Pioneers in kills in the first set with four kills and Anderson and Boteju each had five assists. Denver hit .211 in the set.
Set Two: Denver showed its resiliency in set two, fighting off set point at 24-22 to take the set 26-24. A huge part of that were kills from Principato, Schnurr, and Latham, as they came up with huge points in pressure situations. Blocks were also the story of the second set as the Pioneers scored three points on three-straight blocks (two with Latham and Willis and one with Bartalo and Willis). They had four assisted blocks total in the set, with Schnurr and Baird teaming up for the fourth. Much like the first set, DU would get ahead early, leading 14-11 before Charleston would narrow the gap. After Charleston tied the score at 15, DU would score four of the next five points to make it 19-16, but it wouldn't hold for long as Charleston went on a run of their own. After the set was tied at 20, DU called a timeout, but Charleston would score four of the next six points to make it 24-22. With Charleston serving for the set, Denver called another timeout, which seemed to right the ship. DU would score the next four points to take the set. The Pioneers hit .238 in the set with 14 kills and four errors off of 42 total attacks.
Set Three: DU got out to a fast start, scoring the first five points of the set off of two service aces by Boteju and two kills by Principato, forcing a quick timeout by Charleston. Charleston went on a run of its own out of the timeout to take the next four points to make it 5-4. Each team would string together points, with ties at 15 all and 20 all, before Charleston went ahead 22-20, leading to a timeout by Denver. Much like set two, the Pioneers came out of the timeout to take five of the next six points to take the set 25-23 with kills from Boe, Schnurr and Latham (2). The team hit .256, and had two service aces, both by Boteju. Principato had six kills, Boteju had eight assists, and Rooke had seven digs in the set to lead the Pioneers.
Set Four: The fourth and final set was another battle as neither team could pull away early on. When DU pulled ahead 5-3, Charleston went on to win the next three points to make it 6-5, at which point DU made it six all. From there it was an exchange of points, leading to another tie at 10. Denver would go on a 4-1 run at that point to make it 14-11, at which point the Cougars called a timeout. It seemed to temporarily do the trick, as Charleston pulled within two at 15-13, and then tie the set at 16. That was as close as they would get, as DU scored the next five points to make it 21-16. Charleston made a last push to make it 22-19, but an attack error and two kills by Principato gave the Pioneers the set and the match at 25-19. Principato had another five kills in the set, and Willis and Latham each had four to propel the Pioneers to victory. Boteju and Rooke remained consistent with another eight assists and seven digs, respectively. Willis had four of her seven assisted blocks in the set. DU closed the match hitting a game-high .333 in the set.
"The two main areas that we learned about ourselves on this trip is that we have a lot of depth on our roster, and that one of our greatest strengths as a team is our culture. At any time this season, we can have a different lineup and formation on the floor, and as long as we hold ourselves and each other to the standards that we have established, we have a chance to win.
Up Next: The Pioneers return home to host the Pioneer Classic, starting on Friday, Sept. 1. Denver will face UC Davis at 6 p.m. MT at Hamilton Gymnasium. On Saturday, the Pioneers will play Niagara (11:30 a.m.) and Eastern Illinois (6 p.m.).
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