Denver Sweeps Gonzaga to Open Denver Invitational
The Pioneers win 25-21, 25-23, 25-15
Sept. 15, 2017
DU had three players with double-figures in kills. Kayla Principato led the team with 12 kills and hitting .500 (12-1-22), while Becca Latham and Cassie Baird had 11 and 10, respectively. Baird recorded a double-double in the match, leading the team with 10 digs. Emma Willis had a team-high five assisted blocks, and Piyusha Boteju led the team with 19 assists. Olivia Novotny recorded two service aces to lead the Pioneers, one of four players to register an ace in the match.
As a team, Denver hit .291 off of 41 kills, with 41 assists, 48 digs, eight total team blocks (one solo, 14 assisted) and five service aces.
Set One: The set was never in doubt as DU led throughout the set. The Pioneers started off the match by scoring the first three points off of a kill by Willis and two Bulldog attack errors. After Gonzaga got on the board, Denver then used a 4-0 run to stretch the lead to 7-2. The lead stretched to 12-4 and 14-5, before the Bulldogs put together a string of points to cut it to 14-9. Gonzaga ultimately rallied to make it 21-18, forcing a Denver timeout. Out of the timeout, Baird had two kills and Latham had one of her own to help the Pioneers get the 25-21 win. Denver hit .312 in the set with 15 kills. Baird led the team with five kills, while Principato and Latham each had four. Boteju started off the match with seven assists and Ellie Anderson contributed 6 to aid the Pioneers. Tina Boe had a solo block and also teamed up with Latham for an assisted block. Willis and Teal Schnurr had the other combined block in the set.
Set Two: Unlike the first set, there were 11 ties and four lead changes in the second set. It was a much closer set, with neither team unable to create separation early. After the score was tied at five, DU used a 6-2 run to pull away at 11-7. Gonzaga eventually fought back to tie the set at 16, and then take the 17-16 advantage. DU used a 3-0 run behind a kill from Schnurr and two attack Gonzaga attack errors to go back in front 19-17. The score would be tied at 19, 22 and 23, before two kills and a service ace by Baird sealed the set for DU at 25-23. The Pioneers hit .240 with 15 kills, paced by Principato who had five. Boteju added seven more assists in the set, and Anderson had six. Willis had both assisted blocks in the frame, teaming up with Baird and Principato. Novotny, Baird and Willis all had a service ace.
Set Three: Willis had back-to-back assisted blocks (with Principato and Schnurr) to start off the scoring for DU. Although there were two ties and one lead change early on, Denver used a series of runs to take control of the set. They had an early 3-0 run and 4-0 run to pull in front 9-4. Gonzaga got as close as 10-7, but the Pioneers used another 3-0 run to go from 10-7 to 13-7. The Pioneers would have a comfortable cushion for the remainder of the set, with Gonzaga not getting any closer than four points at 13-9. DU closed the match on a 6-1 run to take the set 25-15, and the match 3-0. Denver closed the match hitting .381 in the third frame with 11 kills. Latham and Principato each had three kills to lead the Pioneers in the set, and Anderson and Boteju each had five assists. Novotny added another service ace to give her five on the season. The Pioneers combined for six assisted blocks, with Boe and Principato adding to the Willis/ Principato and Willis/ Schnurr combo.
UP NEXT: The Pioneers will play a doubleheader tomorrow, starting with UC Riverside at 12:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., DU will close out the Denver Invitational against San Diego State. Earlier in the afternoon, UC Riverside and San Diego State went five sets, with UC Riverside winning 3-2.
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