Pioneers Advance to Summit League Championship
Denver sweeps Oral Roberts in rubber match to advance
Nov. 19, 2016
DENVER - Slowly gaining steam over the course of the match, the University of Denver volleyball team started out in a knock-down, drag-out brawl with Oral Roberts this evening before igniting both halves of the net and taking a sweep behind a 26-24, 25-19 and 25-12 final.
The Pioneers (22-7, 13-3 SL) took the opener despite being outhit by the Golden Eagles (17-15, 8-8 SL), and eventually wore down the visitors before claiming the win in straight sets.
The trio of Nola Basey, Kayla Principato and Emma Willis led the offensive half as Basey and Principato posted eight kills apiece followed by seven from Willis, while Ruth Okoye led the net presence with five total blocks, one solo and four assisted.
Laura Milos led ORU with 18 kills, but was held without an ace yet again in the match against Denver. The junior outside hitter had gone with zero points from the line in six matches this year, three of which came against the Pioneers.
Lucija Bojanjac paced the Golden Eagle attack with 25 assists and tallied the lone double-double of the match with 11 digs, while Tori Roe did what she could to slow DU's attack with 12 digs.
Both teams put up a sturdy defensive look in the opening set as ORU was held to a .184 mark against three Denver blocks, but the Pioneers were equally slowed by 15 Golden Eagles digs and limited to a .152 mark.
Principato led the offensive look with three kills as Boteju and Domme both ended with three assists and Corrujedo added four digs.
DU opened up with the first three points of the stanza behind two aces from Rooke before the Golden Eagles force an early tie at 5-5. Denver built up a lead at 9-5 but ORU fought back and forced a handful of evened scores before taking the advantage at 23-21 later on.
The Pioneers took the next two points to knot the score at 23-23 as the home team kept ahold of the momentum with the first set point at 24-23, subsequently broken by the visitors, but it wasn't enough as DU held on for a 26-24 final.
Denver's offense shifted into another gear, hitting .265 in the frame, while Oral Roberts was slowed to a .121 clip.
Willis led with four kills, followed by three from Basey, while Domme paced the attack with five assists.
The Golden Eagles took the lead early on 6-2, but DU lurked close behind and forced the first tie at 10-10. Both sides turned the set into another back-and-forth affair with the final tie coming at 17-17.
Denver hit the afterburners and took four of the next five points for a 21-18 lead, eventually cruising to a 25-19 final.
The Pioneers were firing on all cylinders in the final stanza, hitting .355 on the offensive half of the net and limiting Oral Roberts to a -.054 mark behind two blocks and 19 digs.
Basey posted four kills for DU, while Boteju paced the attack with six assists and Rooke kept the Golden Eagles in check with six digs.
ORU was up early at 5-3, but Denver forced a tie at 6-6 and immediately took over the set on six straight points for an 11-6 lead. The Pioneers remained in control for the remainder of the match, building up a 20-10 lead en route to a 25-12 final.
Denver advances to the Summit League Championship for the third-straight year and will face the winner of the South Dakota/North Dakota State on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. MT in Hamilton Gymnasium.
Tickets to the championship can be found here.
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