Pioneers Spurred On by Baird's Career Night
Junior outside hitter posts career high hitting percentage in sweep of Jackrabbits
Oct. 7, 2016
DENVER – Seemingly unstoppable throughout the duration of the match, Cassie Baird set a new career high in hitting percentage to power the University of Denver volleyball’s sweep of South Dakota State this evening in Hamilton Gymnasium at 25-11, 25-17 and 25-12.
“It’s great to be home,” said head coach Tom Hogan. “We wanted to maintain our urgency and intensity over the course of the entire match and I feel we did a good job of that tonight.
“Our players played well, but there are still some things we need to clean up before our match on Sunday.”
Baird swung at a .632 rate in the contest behind 12 kills and no errors in 19 attempts for Denver (11-5, 3-1 SL). She also tallied 10 digs for her first double-double of the 2016 campaign and finished with five blocks, one solo and two assisted to give DU the win over the Jackrabbits (2-14, 1-3 SL).
The Indianapolis native was joined by three other teammates who hit over .500 on the match as Emma Willis finished at .714 with five kills and no errors, Kayla Principato ended with a .667 clip with nine kills and one error, with Nola Basey rounding out the quartet with a .545 hit percentage off six kills and no errors. Willis also brought a strong defensive effort with five total blocks, one solo and four assisted.
Becca Latham provided some additional oomph on the offense, as she notched nine kills and a .318 mark, while Monique Domme and Piyusha Boteju drove the high-powered attack with 19 and 15 assists, respectively.
Makenzie Hennen led South Dakota State on the offensive end with 11 kills, while Mattison Munger steered the Jackrabbits with 18 assists and Ellie Benson stayed in the back to finish with 14 digs.
DU came out firing from the opening serve, hitting .423 with only one error and four blocks as a team while holding SDSU to a -.061 mark.
Willis and Latham led the attack in the early portions, as both posted three kills, followed by two each from Baird and Basey. Baird also tallied three block assists in the set to establish the early look on the net.
The Pioneers started with a 3-1 lead over the Jackrabbits, eventually building a 14-10 cushion before closing on an 11-1 run for a 25-11 final.
Denver upped the ante in the second set, hitting .455 as a team with two blocks and two service aces, while South Dakota State ended with a .235 mark and one service ace.
Baird took the reins as she was perfect on all six of her attacks, followed by four kills and no errors from Basey and two kills apiece from Okoye, Principato and Latham.
DU opened with another 3-1 lead before SDSU tied the set at 4-4. The Pioneers rebuilt the cushion at 6-4 and kept the Jacks at bay through the remainder of the stanza, eventually taking a 25-17 final.
DU completed the sweep hitting .484 in the final frame with three blocks and holding SDSU to a .030 mark.
Principato steeped up to the net for Denver, posting six kills on six attacks, while Baird and Latham each added four.
The Pioneers had to fight off a tough early showing from the Jackrabbits who forced the tie at 3-3. Denver responded with a 10-1 run for a 13-4 lead and cruised the rest of the way for a 25-12 final.
DU remains at home this Sunday and will face Western Illinois to wrap up the weekend homestand at 1 pm MT.
Tickets are on sale for Denver’s home matches and can be found here.
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