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Denver Defeats NDSU in Straight Sets to Advance to Championship

Nov. 18, 2017

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DENVER--
The University of Denver women's volleyball team advanced to the Summit League Championship with a 25-11, 25-20, 25-22 victory against North Dakota State in the semifinals Saturday afternoon.  The Pioneers are now 22-5 with the win, and have won the last 10 matches. 

Denver will be making its fifth-consecutive appearance in the championship match, and will be going for its fourth-straight Summit League Tournament Championship. 

Becca Latham had a match- and career-high 20 kills to lead the Pioneers, hitting .444 in the match, while Ellie Anderson recorded her third-straight double-double with 26 assists and 15 digs.  Cassidy Rooke paced the Pioneers with 17 digs, while Cassie Baird added 10 in the match.  Piyusha Boteju registered 14 assists along with tying a team-high two service aces.  Emma Willis once again led the team in total blocks with seven total blocks (one solo, six assisted).

As a team, Denver hit .318 in the match with 49 kills on 110 attempts, 48 assists, 58 digs, five service aces and nine total blocks.  They held North Dakota State to a .138 hitting rate with 30 kills on 109 attempts, 29 assists, 42 digs and three total blocks.  Coming into the match, the Bison led the Summit League in service aces, but the Pioneers limited them to two in the match, both of which came in the third set.

Set One
:  Denver started off the match firing and carried the momentum throughout the set.  DU scored the first four points of the match behind two aces by Baird and never trailed.   They used three 4-0 runs to build a 13-4 advantage early on.  The lead grew to 15 at 23-8 before NDSU had three straight points to make it 23-11, but DU took the next two points with a Latham kill and Boteju ace to win the set 25-11. Denver hit .412 with 17 kills in the first set, in part to five kills each from Teal Schnurr and Latham.  Anderson had eight assists and seven digs right out of the gate on her way to her double-double. Rooke added seven digs as well.  Baird had back-to-back service aces and Rooke and Boteju added aces.  Willis and Schnurr combined for the lone block of the set between both teams.

Set Two:  The second set played out much differently than the first, with six ties and three lead changes. Once again, Denver got out to an early lead of 6-3, but this time, North Dakota State closed the gap and went on a 3-1 run to tie the set at seven. Denver pulled ahead 9-8 on a Kayla Principato kill and Baird/ Willis block, at which point, NDSU used a 4-1 run to take the 11-10 lead. Each time the Pioneers took a lead, the Bison responded, turning a 16-13 DU lead into a 17-16 NDSU lead. Denver pushed the lead to four late in the set at 21-17, however, NDSU cut it to make it 21-19.  That was as close as NDSU would get after Denver closed on a 4-1 run to take the second set by a score of 25-20. Latham had a fantastic second set hitting .462 with eight kills, and scoring the last three Pioneer points. Anderson had 10 assists in the set alone, and Rooke had six more digs to lead the Crimson and Gold in the frame.  Boteju added her second ace of the match early on in the set, and Willis proved to be a force at the net with one solo block and four assisted blocks.  Willis teamed up with Baird twice, and Latham and Schnurr once. Latham and Tina Boe combined for a stop as well.  Denver hit .333 in the frame with 15 kills and had 14 assists and six team blocks.

Set Three: The final set followed the pattern of the second set with four ties and four lead changes.  DU won the first two points of the set and got out to a 12-4 lead behind a 5-0 run.  NDSU slowly chipped away at the lead, eventually going on a run to cut the lead down to 16-15 and proceeded to take the 17-16 lead. Undeterred, the Pioneers fought back to reclaim the lead at 21-20, spurred by kills from Principato, Willis and Latham.  There were two ties down the stretch at 21 and 22, but back-to-back kills from Latham and a Bison attack error gave the Pioneers the set at 25-22 and the match.   Denver hit .225 in the final set with 17 kills and 17 assists. Latham continued her dominance from the second set with seven more kills in the third set, hitting .417.   Anderson closed the match with eight more assists and Baird led the team in digs in the frame with five.  Schnurr had a solo block and Willis and Principato combined again for a block. 

UP NEXT:  The Pioneers will play the winner of the South Dakota-Oral Roberts match tomorrow at 2 p.m. MT, for an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament.


 

 

TICKETS: Tickets for the Summit League Tournament can be PURCHASED HERE.

PIONEER MOVEMENT: Fans interested in making a donation to the volleyball program can do so by 
CLICKING HERE. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.

 

Student-Athlete Alumni Giving Challenge:
In 2017-18, the University of Denver is holding an alumni giving challenge in an effort to increase student-athlete alumni participation in the Denver Athletics Annual Fund. The sport program with the highest percentage of alumni participation will receive an additional $10,000 of support through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Former student-athletes can make a gift online, by calling 303-871-2388 during normal business hours or by sending a check to:

Athletics Development Office
Attn: Kaley Rickert
2201 E. Asbury Avenue 
Denver, CO 80208

 
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