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Denver's Season Ends in NCAA Opening Round at [9] Stanford

Dec. 2, 2016

BOX SCORE

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 [9] 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.

"We are extremely proud of the way our team battled tonight," said first-year head coach Tom Hogan. "Stanford is a very physical team with attackers ranging from 6-3 to 6-8, we threw everything we had at them and left it all out on the floor.

"We will grow from this experience as a team and program and we will walk out of this tournament with our heads held high and hungry to get back in the gym this winter to begin the journey again."

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.

Kayla Principato led Denver with a blistering .480 clip behind 13 kills and one error, while Nola Basey followed up with eight kills with a .318 mark alongside seven digs.

Monique Domme and Piyusha Boteju drove the attack with 16 and 17 assists, respectively, while Cassidy Rooke added 16 digs to corral the Cardinal from the back row.


 

 

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.

Set One:

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.

Basey, Principato, Moni Corrujedo, and Emma Willis all had two kills in the frame, while Rooke added four digs and Ruth Okoye teamed up with Principato for the lone block.

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.

Set Two:

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.

Set Three:

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.

"Our seniors were a large reason for our success this season," coach Hogan added. "We implemented a new team culture and they helped shape our team's identity."

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.

"They will graduate from DU having led our program to three-straight conference championships, but more importantly, being pillars in taking our program to the next level," coach Hogan mentioned. "They are a special group that will excel in life and make a positive impact on others because of the people they have become at the University of Denver."

Stay tuned later in the month for a 2016 year in review from the volleyball team as Denver reloads for the 2017 season.

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.

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