Pioneers Defeat Jackrabbits in Straight Sets
For the second time this season, DU wins in three against SDSU
Oct. 27, 2017
DENVER— The University of Denver women’s volleyball team started off its four-match homestand with a straight-set victory over South Dakota State (25-22, 25-16, 25-18) in Hamilton Gymnasium Friday evening.
Denver has won the last four matches and its last four home matches, and are now 16-5 overall and 7-2 in the Summit League. DU moves to 10-1 all-time against South Dakota State, nine of which were sweeps.
Becca Latham and Cassidy Rooke led the team with 15 kills and digs, respectively, while Ellie Anderson had 20 assists and three service aces to lead the Pioneers. Emma Willis controlled the net with three total blocks, one solo and two assisted. Latham hit a team and season-high .737 in the match (15-1-19).
As a team, DU hit .306 behind 52 kills, 49 assists, 51 digs, six service aces and five total team blocks.
“We were challenged tonight by SDSU in a lot of different ways, but our team responded and we grew from this opportunity,” said head coach Tom Hogan. “We adjusted well on our block and defense throughout the night and held South Dakota State to a .129 offensive efficiency.
“Our offense performed at a high clip, especially in sets two and three. Becca Latham continues to attack at a high efficiency, .737 with 15 kills, and our middles (Tina Boe and Emma Willis) combined for 13 kills attacking at .450 efficiency.”
Set One: The first set was the closest set of the match and contained five ties and two lead changes. Denver jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, which would extend to 9-3, which forced a South Dakota State timeout. Out of the break, the Jackrabbits scored three-consecutive points to cut DU’s lead to 9-6. Denver held the lead until South Dakota State used a 5-0 run to take a 17-16 advantage. After ties at 17, 18 and 19, Anderson put the Pioneers back in front for good with back-to-back service aces to make it 21-19 DU. Two Latham kills and a Latham/ Willis block secured the opening set for the Pioneers at 25-22. Seven was the magic number as Latham had seven kills, Rooke had seven digs and Piyusha Boteju had seven assists in the first set. Rooke also had a service ace in the frame, which was the senior’s 100th career service ace. Tina Boe and Kayla Principato combined for the other Denver block in the set. DU hit .188 with 17 kills, 25 digs, two total blocks and three service aces.
Set Two: The Jackrabbits scored the first point of the set, but DU responded with a 3-0 run to take the lead and never trailed in the match after that. Denver went on a 6-0 run to push the lead to 10-3, and then had another 6-0 run later in the set for the 18-9 edge. The lead grew to as large as 11 at 23-12, and got as close as eight at 24-16, but Principato ended the set with a kill for the Denver 25-16 win. Latham paced the Pioneers again with four kills in the second frame, and Rooke added four more digs. Anderson had seven of the team’s 13 assists in the set, and added another service ace. Cassie Baird also had a service ace in the set, which were the only aces scored between both teams. Teal Schnurr and Boe had an assisted block, and Latham and Willis teamed up again for another Pioneer block. The Pioneers held the Jackrabbits to .000 (7-7-27), while hitting .393 (15-4-28).
Set Three: Denver led wire-to-wire in the final set, taking the first three points of the set. The Jackrabbits would get the lead down to one several times throughout the early stages of the set, but they were never able to get the tying point. After South Dakota State made it 9-8, Denver went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead 13-8. SDSU got two points back out of a timeout, at which point DU responded with a 6-1 run to pull away at 19-11. SDSU fought off three match points to go from 24-15 to 24-18 before Lydia Bartalo put the Jackrabbits away with a kill. Principato closed the match with six kills in the frame, and Anderson had eight assists for the Crimson and Gold. Taylor Loyd and Rooke each led with four digs, while Willis had the only DU block in the set. Bartalo had the lone service ace in the frame between both teams. Denver hit .400 with a match-high 20 kills (20-6-35), 19 assists and 16 digs.
“All of our attention and focus now turns to our match on Sunday against a very good North Dakota State team,” said Hogan.
UP NEXT: Denver plays North Dakota State at 1 p.m. MT. The Bison lost to Oral Roberts on Friday night and are now 15-7 (6-4 Summit) on the season.
TICKETS: Tickets for the 2017 Denver volleyball season are on sale now and can be PURCHASED HERE.
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