Denver's Season Ends in NCAA Opening Round at  Stanford
Pioneers fail to advance past the Cardinal on Maples Pavilion
Dec. 2, 2016
STANFORD, Calif. – Coming out of the gates hot later in the match wasn’t enough for the University of Denver volleyball team as sixth-seeded  Stanford ended the 2016 campaign for the Crimson and Gold in straight sets, 25-12, 25-22 and 25-20, this evening at Maples Pavilion.
The Pioneers (23-9) appeared to work though some tourney jitters in the opening set but gave the Cardinal (22-7) a fight to remember with back-to-back hard-fought sets to close out the match.
Stanford showcased their top-10 ranking, getting 12 kills from Inky Ajanaku, 11 kills and digs for the double-double from Kathryn Plummer and 11 kills from Ivana Vanjak to spearhead the offense. Jenna Gray utilized all her options and ended with 42 assists and added another double-double behind 11 digs while Morgan Hentz kept DU in check with 11 digs.
Stanford was firmly in control in the opener, hitting .423 while limiting the Pioneers to a .057 clip despite Denver getting 13 digs and 11 assists as a team.
The teams went back-and-forth early on with the score tied at 8-8 before the Cardinal fired off a 15-3 run for a 23-11 lead and took the first game at 25-12.
DU responded at the start of the second, but couldn’t carry the momentum despite bringing its swing mark up to .132 after a .195 clip as Stanford carried a .250 rate in the stanza.
Principato went on a mission and returned with six kills and no errors in the frame, while Domme tallied six assists, Rooke dug out six swings with Okoye, Willis, Corrujedo and Basey each posting a block.
Denver opened up a 4-0 lead at the beginning and endured a furious Cardinal rally that knotted the teams at 7-7. The Pioneers maintained a small cushion before Stanford took over the lead at 16-15 and held on at 24-19. DU broke three subsequent set points and narrowed the gap to 24-22, but a momentum-killing timeout from the hosts took away any chance of keeping the rally for a 25-22 final.
The Pioneers came out hot yet again in the frame, but had no answer as they hit .265 to Stanford’s .452 in the set.
Principato kept her furious pace going, getting five kills without an error, while Boteju notched seven assists and Rooke scooped six digs.
DU held a 3-1 lead in the beginning but was matched point-for-point by the Cardinal as the hosts forced a tie at 6-6 and took the lead at 9-7. Denver responded to the rally and took the lead back at 13-10 but Stanford wasn't fazed and inched ahead at 17-15 before the visitors mounted a counterattack and tied the set at 17-17.
The Cardinal kept the pressure on at 20-18 while the Pioneers got as close as 20-19, but fell in the final set after Stanford ended on a 5-1 run, bringing DU’s season to an end.
Denver will graduate five seniors in 2016, four of whom come out of the starting lineup as Domme, Okoye, Corrujedo and Basey all end their careers in the Crimson and Gold with three straight Summit League Regular-Season and Tournament Championships along with three appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Stay tuned later in the month for a 2016 year in review from the volleyball team as Denver reloads for the 2017 season.
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