Pioneers Claim Victory in Rematch of Summit League Championship
Cassidy Rooke eclipses 1,000 career digs in four-set DU win
Sept. 24, 2016
OMAHA, Neb. – Anchoring the back line as she has done for the past three seasons, Cassidy Rooke became the 15th member of University of Denver’s 1,000 dig club after finishing with a season-high 23 in the four-set win over Omaha at 25-27, 25-14, 25-20 and 27-25.
“I’m really proud of our team for battling adversity throughout the match tonight,” said head coach Tom Hogan. “Omaha brought fantastic defense like we anticipated and we responded well with fighting for points on the transition side.
“It is great to begin our conference season with a win on the road and now we turn our focus and preparation to another tough road weekend in Indiana.”
Rooke became an official member after tallying her 10th dig of the match in the second frame to lead Denver (9-4, 1-0 SL) on the defensive front. Kayla Principato, Nola Basey and Ruth Okoye spearheaded the offense as they posted 18, 16 and 11 kills, respectively, while the trio hit over .250 in the afternoon as Basey also ended with a double-double with 10 digs in the match.
The Mavericks (3-13, 0-2 SL) were held to a .099 hitting mark in the match as Hannah Angeli led UNO with 14 kills at a .258 rate with 18 digs, while Sydney O’Shaughnessy pulled double duty as setter and defensive stalwart with 34 assists and 18 digs.
Despite hitting .289 in the opening frame, Denver dropped the set 27-25 after Omaha stayed close behind with four service aces, three team blocks and three DU service errors.
Basey led the way for the Pioneers with six kills, followed by three each from Moni Corrujedo and Okoye, and two from Domme and Principato.
Both teams were back-and-forth in the early portions until Denver held a 17-12 lead midway through. The Mavericks countered and tied the frame at 20-20 and again at 24-24 before taking the set at 27-25.
The Pioneers rebounded in the second set, hitting .419 as a team while holding the Mavericks to a -.030 mark as DU recorded 15 kills on two errors and three team blocks.
Basey and Okoye tallied four kills apiece, with three more coming from Principato, while Rooke became the 15th member in Denver’s history with 1,000 career digs after she posted her 10th of the match during the frame.
DU led from start to finish, first by taking an 8-3 lead and expanding the cushion to 18-8 later on before tying the match with a 25-14 final.
DU’s offense slowed a bit, hitting only .206 in the third frame, but still outpaced Omaha, hitting .176, while the biggest difference came in the form of four Denver service aces.
Basey kept her pace up with four kills in the set, followed by three from Principato, while Emma Willis carried the hot-handed serve behind three aces.
The Pioneers took a 5-0 lead to open the set and led wire-to-wire, never letting the cushion fall below four points en route to a 25-20 final.
Denver hit only .192 in the set, but kept UNO to a .085 clip to take the final stanza.
Principato was firing on all cylinders in the frame, recording 10 kills on a .412 clip, while Okoye added three kills, with two apiece coming from Basey and Cassie Baird.
Set four featured 17 ties and seven lead changes with neither side gaining a definitive advantage greater than three points. Omaha held two set points with a 24-22 late lead, but DU rallied for two quick points to force an evened score at 24-24. The Pioneers had to break another UNO set point after a 25-24 Maverick lead, but three straight points from Denver became the deciding factor, claiming the fourth set for the visitors at 27-25.
DU will stay on the road next week, with a match on Friday, Sept. 30, against Fort Wayne starting at 5 p.m. MT, and will follow up with a match against IUPUI on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 4 p.m.
Tickets are on sale for Denver’s home matches and can be found here.
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