Denver Endures Late Surge to Claim Win over NDSU in Five
Six Pioneers have career nights in win over Bison
Oct. 14, 2016
DENVER – Two career milestones highlighted tonight’s match between the University of Denver and North Dakota State volleyball teams that saw a 2-0 set lead turn into a five-set grueling battle between the schools. The Pioneers (13-6, 5-2 SL) came out on top in the end over the Bison (6-14, 4-3 SL) by set scores of 25-20, 27-25, 22-25, 22-25 and 16-14.
“We had a lot of career highs tonight,” said head coach Tom Hogan, “[Piyusha] Boteju reached 1,000 career assists, Ruth [Okoye] reached 300 blocks in her DU career, Cassidy [Rooke] had 35 digs, [Kayla] Principato had 19 kills, Becca [Latham] had 11 kills and Emma [Willis] had nine total blocks.
“It was great to celebrate those accomplishments with a hard-fought five-set win. We now turn our attention to our match on Sunday against South Dakota who currently leads the Summit League.”
The first career milestone to fall came from Piyusha Boteju after her seventh assist coming in the second set put her over 1,000 in her career, becoming the 15th Pioneer to accomplish the feat. She joined her teammate Monique Domme, who accomplished the feat back on Sept. 17 against Georgetown, and it is the first time in Denver history where two members of the team surpassed 1,000 career assists in the same season. Boteju finished with 20 assists and currently has 1,013 in her distinguished career.
The second milestone came from Ruth Okoye who got her second block of the match in the third set to become the 13th member of DU’s 300 blocks club, ending with five total for 303 in her career. She also added 13 kills on a .258 clip to power both sides of the net.
Four other Pioneers also had career nights, as Cassidy Rooke set a new high in digs with 35, Kayla Principato posted a new high with 19 kills, Becca Latham joined her in the kills category after tallying a career-best 11 on the evening and Emma Willis notched a new mark with nine blocks.
Domme split time with Boteju at setter, ending with 29 assists, while recording her fourth double-double behind 13 digs. Nola Basey and Moni Corrujedo joined in on both sides as Basey ended with seven kills and 14 digs, while Corrujedo tallied six kills, 14 digs and four block assists.
Emily Miron led NDSU with 16 kills and a .302 mark, followed by 14 kills and a .321 clip from Emily Minnick and 13 kills and 13 digs from Hadley Steffan. Brianna Rasmusson had plenty of options to choose from as she ended with 41 assists and 12 digs, while Mikaela Purnell stayed in the back with 31 digs.
DU displayed the dominant defense in the opening set, keeping the Bison to a .000 mark with 22 digs and one block, while firing off a .257 clip behind 15 Pioneer kills.
Corrujedo led the way with four kills with no errors, followed by three kills and no errors each from Okoye and Latham.
Denver fired off a 7-0 run at the start and never let North Dakota State within three through the remainder for a 25-20 win
The Pioneers kept the pace up, hitting .256 in the second set, but were nearly matched by NDSU with a .244 mark despite the host squad posting four blocks in the set.
Principato led with seven kills for a .455 clip, while Okoye and Latham both added three kills.
DU was down 8-4 in the early portions, but slowly chipped away at the lead and forced a tie at 10-10. The Bison tied it back up at 11-11 and held a 17-13 lead, but Denver was resilient and used a 6-1 run to tie the set late at 21-21. Both teams went back-and-forth again and went into extra points after the Pioneers tied the set again at 24-24.
NDSU had to even the score at 25-25, but a decisive DU block coupled with a quick kill from Domme gave the home team the set at 27-25.
Both defenses turned up in the set as Denver hit .089 with three blocks to NDSU’s .093 clip with two blocks.
Okoye led the way with four kills while three came from both Basey and Principato to drive the attack.
DU was in an early hole, down 5-1, but fought for the tie at 5-5 and stayed within one of NDSU at 9-8. The Bison rattled off a 6-2 run for a 15-10 lead midway through but were matched by a 5-0 run from Denver to tie the set at 15-15. Unfortunately, the Pioneers could not regain the lead as North Dakota State held on for the 25-22 final.
Defense remained the name of the game in the fourth stanza as Denver hit .159 with four team blocks to NDSU’s .190 clip with one team block.
Principato tallied three kills, while Corrujedo, Okoye, Willis and Latham each posted two.
The frame was punctuated by 15 ties between the teams with the latest coming at 21-21. North Dakota State made the late push, however, and claimed set four at a 4-1 run for a 25-22 final.
Facing their second decisive set in as many matches, the Pioneers fought tooth-and-nail in the fifth verse behind a .200 mark to a .135 percentage from the Bison.
Principato came up big when it counted, powering home four kills with no errors in the set, while Latham and Cassie Baird each tallied two kills.
NDSU held the 7-4 advantage over DU, but a 4-0 run from Denver prompted the teams to switch sides and took control of the momentum. North Dakota State forced the tied at 9-9, held on to a one-point lead at 13-12 and eventually held the first match point at 14-13.
Back-to-back kills from Principato gave the Pioneers a 15-14 lead, forcing a timeout from the Bison, while DU’s defense made two tough stops in the next point and forced an attack error on the third attempt to take the match at 16-14.
The Pioneers will wrap up their fourth home match in two weeks with a contest on Sunday, Oct. 16, against league-leading South Dakota starting at 1 p.m. MT.
Tickets are on sale for Denver’s home matches and can be found here.
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