Denver Takes Season Sweep over SDSU behind Rooke’s Heavy Serve
Pioneers’s junior libero sets new career high in service aces in win
Oct. 21, 2016
BROOKINGS, S.D. – As if her steady hand in the back row wasn’t enough, junior libero Cassidy Rooke showcased another skill to lead the University of Denver volleyball team in three-set win over South Dakota State this evening at 25-17, 25-18 and 25-21.
“It is always nice to get a win on the road,” said head coach Tom Hogan, “South Dakota State served well and played great defense.
“Rooke, Corrujedo and Domme served well and put pressure on the Jackrabbit’s receivers. Our attention and focus now turns to Western Illinois and our match Sunday afternoon.”
The Rancho Sante Fe, Calif., native was seemingly unstoppable from the service line, firing off a career-high six service aces to spearhead Denver’s (15-6, 7-2 SL) all-around effort in its win over the Jackrabbits (3-18, 2-7 SL). DU also hit .340 in the match and used six blocks and 41 digs to hold the Jacks to a .186 mark.
The offense was led by a plethora of Pioneers as Emma Willis and Kayla Principato posted eight kills apiece as Willis added two block assists and a .727 clip with Principato following suit with three block assists. Ruth Okoye added six kills and four block assists to the team look, while Becca Latham, Moni Corrujedo, and Cassie Baird tallied five kills each on the nightcap.
Rooke aided other aspects on the court for DU, adding six assists and nine digs to balance out her hot-handed serve.
Ashley Beaner led all attackers on the match, totaling 14 kills to lead the Jackrabbits, while Brooke Leetham gave her every look possible to notch 25 assists and Ellie Benson kept any Denver attacks alive with 16 digs.
DU swung at a .472 clip in the first set, outpacing SDSU’s rate of .250.
Principato led the way with five kills, followed by four from Corrujedo and three each from Willis and Nola Basey.
The teams went back-and-forth in the early half, complete with nine ties en route to a 13-13 evened score. The Pioneers fired off a 5-1 run for an 18-14 lead and never looked back for a 25-17 final.
Denver’s offense hit a bit of a lull, swinging at a .241, but upped the ante on the defensive side with three team blocks to hold SDSU to a .132 percentage.
There were only nine kills among all attackers for DU, as Latham, Okoye and Willis led with two kills apiece, but the difference maker came from Rooke as she powered home four of her service aces.
The Pioneers held an early lead at 7-4 before the Jacks fought back for the tie at 7-7 and the teams stayed relatively even with DU holding the narrow lead at 14-13 midway through the set. A 7-1 run from the visitors proved to be the difference in the set as Denver held the 21-14 lead at the end of the rally and matched SDSU point-for-point through the set for a 25-18 final.
The Pioneers hit .276 in the final frame and kept the defensive pressure up with three blocks to keep South Dakota State to a .185 mark.
Baird tallied four kills in the stanza, while Willis added three and Rooke got her final two aces to set her new career high.
Denver hit the ground running in the set, using an early 8-2 run for an 11-4 lead, but had to endure a furious Jackrabbit rally later on as the home team narrowed DU’s lead to 17-16. The Pioneers held the narrow gap at 21-20 but closed the set on a 4-1 run, capped off by a service ace from Willis for a 25-21 final.
Denver remains on the road and will face Western Illinois on Sunday, Oct. 23, starting at 11 a.m. MT.
Tickets are on sale for Denver’s home matches and can be found here.
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