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DU Opens Up League Play with Five Set Victory

Sept. 24, 2017

BOX SCORE

  VOLL v Fort Wayne (24 SEP 17) - Highlights
  VOLL v Fort Wayne (24 SEP 17) - Full Game
  VOLL v Fort Wayne (24 SEP 17) - Post Game

Pioneer Movement |  Denver Ticket Office

DENVER-- The University of Denver women's volleyball team opened up league play with a thrilling five set win over Fort Wayne (25-21, 21-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-10).  With the victory, the Pioneers move to 10-3 (1-0 Summit) overall, while the Mastodons fall to 8-9 (0-2 Summit).

Denver also moves to 5-0 in Summit League openers.

The Pioneers hit .236 as a team, with 63 kills, 62 assists, 59 digs, five service aces and 11 total blocks.  

Kayla Principato and Emma Willis led the team with 14 kills apiece, with Willis setting a career-high in the process.  Becca Latham had 12 of her own, to give the Pioneers three players with 10-plus kills in the match. Piyusha Boteju had a season-high 33 assists on the afternoon to lead the team, which also tied a career-high, and Cassidy Rooke had 17 digs to pace the Crimson and Gold.  Three players had four blocks each, with Latham registering two solo blocks and two assisted blocks.  Tina Boe, Principato and Willis each had four assisted blocks in the match.  Cassie Baird had two service aces to lead the team, while Willis, Ellie Anderson and Lydia Bartalo each had one. 

"We just got a great taste today of what this league season is going to be like," said head coach Tom Hogan. "We are going to be challenged at every match, and have to expect everyone's best game.

"Fort Wayne played great defensively and really made us earn our points.  This constant challenge will only make us better, and we will grow from these experiences."

Set One:  DU started off the match hot, with the quick 7-1 advantage. It was a lead that they would hold onto throughout, as they never trailed throughout the set. Fort Wayne would pull within three a few times, but DU was able to comfortably win the set at 25-15. Willis had two kills and a service ace early on in the action, and would end with a team-high five kills (.833%) in the set. Boteju would start out the match with eight assists, Rooke had five digs, and Anderson would add a service ace for the Pioneers. Principato and Willis would combine for the lone assisted block for Denver. As a team, the Pioneers hit .214 with 10 kills, while holding Fort Wayne to .065%.

Set Two: Set two had eight ties and one lead change before the Mastodons would ultimately take the set at 25-21.  After several ties early on in the set, Fort Wayne used a 6-0 run to go ahead 13-7. Pioneers used a 4-0 run of their own to make it 13-11 Fort Wayne. The set was eventually tied at 16 before Fort Wayne used another 4-0 spurt to go in front 20-16.  The Pioneers would get back-to-back kills from Baird to help DU cut the lead to two, at 23-21, but the Mastodons would win the set 25-21. Latham led the team with four kills in the set, and Boteju added eight more assists. Baird recorded a service ace, and Willis and Principato would again combine for the only assisted block in the set.  Latham also had a solo block for Denver.  DU hit .154 in the frame with 14 kills. 

Set Three:  The third set was another back-and-forth set with 11 ties and three lead changes.  Neither team could create separation early, with four of those ties occurring in the first 10 points. Denver went in front 9-7, but Fort Wayne would take the next four points to take the 11-9 lead.  DU tied the set at 11, but Fort Wayne would again go in front by two at 13-11. There would be ties at 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21, but in the home stretch of the set, Denver used a 4-1 run to close the set and win 25-22. Teal Schnurr and Latham paced the team with four kills each in the set, in which DU hit .268 with a match-high 17 kills.  Andrea Eddy led the set with six assists and Rooke had five more digs to lead the team.  Baird had a solo block, Boe combined with Latham twice, while Principato and Willis had another assisted block for the Pioneers.

Set Four:  Denver jumped out to an early 7-4 lead, to which the Mastodons responded with a 3-0 run to tie the set at seven.  DU again went ahead, this time using a 4-0 run to make it 12-8 in the set, but Fort Wayne went on an 8-2 run for the 16-14 advantage. There would be ties at 16, 18 and 19, before Fort Wayne closed the set on a 6-2 run to win the set 25-21 and force a fifth set. Principato hit .500 (5-0-10) with five kills to lead the Pioneers, who hit .212 with 12 kills as a team.  Boteju recorded seven assists, including the 1500th assist of her career. Baird led with four digs and she and  Bartalo tallied a service ace to lead the team in the respective categories. Boe and Baird, and Principato and Willis would combine for assisted blocks in the set, with Latham getting a solo block. Principato and Willis teamed up for four assisted blocks in the match, with one coming in each of the first four sets.  

Set Five:  For the first time this season, the Pioneers were pushed to a fifth set, but it would end up in the Crimson and Gold's favor as they took the set, 15-10, and the match.  As expected, it was close early on with four ties in the first eight points. DU then used a 3-0 run behind a Becca Mau kill and two Mastodon errors to pull in front 7-4. Another Mau kill made it 8-5 at the break.  Principato, Willis, Boe, Schnurr and Latham would all record a kill down the stretch en route to the victory. Schnurr had three kills in the final set to lead DU, and Anderson and Boteju assisted on five points each.  Boe and Schnurr had the lone assisted block for Denver in the frame and Macy Carrabine had two digs to lead the team.  The Pioneers closed the match hitting .400 in the set behind 10 kills.

UP NEXT:
  Denver is on the road for the next four matches, and will face North Dakota State (Sept. 29), South Dakota State (Oct. 1), Omaha (Oct. 3) and Oral Roberts (Oct. 7).  The Pioneers return to Hamilton Gymnasium on Oct. 13, when they play Western Illinois.  First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT.

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