Hall making late season push
With a five set victory over the DePaul Blue Demons on Nov. 1, the volleyball team won their 500th game in the history of the program and improved their record to 10-6 overall and 4-6 in the Big East.
The win gave the team a weekend split after falling to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 3-1, the day before.
The Hall took the early lead in the first set, taking a 9-4 lead. The advantage was extended to 18-12 after a kill from freshman Olivia Trudeau.
DePaul responded with a 7-2 run pulling the set to a point set before tying the score at 21-21.
From there, the Pirates finished the set 25-21, winning the final four points after freshman Hannah Hugeback turned the set in the Pirates favor with one of her 17 kills.
“DePaul came into the game playing well,” head coach Kris Zeiter said. “It was a relief to win the first set after they came back.”
The second set was one that the Blue Demons led from start to finish.
Their 10-5 lead was cut down to three at 13-10 after one of junior Sarah Osmun’s kills. DePaul extended their lead again and won the set after a 12-4 run.
Starting the third set, both teams played it close before a 6-1 run put the Blue Demons ahead, 16-10. The Hall tied the set late at 22-22 before the next two points went DePaul’s way.
The Pirates tied the game back at 24-24, but a kill and an ace from the Blue Demons gave them the 26-24 win and brought the match to 2-1 overall.
“We were not playing as well as were capable of,” Zeiter said. “We knew we had better players and a better team so we knew we could come back.”
In the fourth set the Hall took the lead early 12-9 with a kill from sophomore Meghan Matusiak. DePaul was ahead 17-15 when Matusiak came up with another kill and gave the Pirates a small lead.
Down 20-19 the Pirates scored five of the next six points, won 25-23, and forced a fifth set.
“Winning the fourth set turned things around for us,” Zeiter said. “We won big points with our season on the line and built confidence heading into set five.”
Once again both teams started the set trading points with DePaul holding a small 7-5 lead. Three straight points put the Pirates ahead 8-7. After a block from DeVries and Matusiak, the Hall had the cushion they and won, 15-12.
“We finally started playing more of our style in the fifth (set),” Zeiter said. “We were playing faster with more control and with confidence.”
Matusiak had an all-around game recording 17 kills, and 14 digs, along with six aces and four blocks, to lead the Pirates to the victory.
The day before on the road at Notre Dame, the Pirates fell 3-1 but for only the second time won a set against the Irish.
Notre Dame dominated the first set early taking a 11-3 lead over the Hall, but a 7-2 pulled the Pirates within one at 17-16. Notre Dame pulled away in the end to win the first set 25-18.
In the second set the Irish jumped out to another early lead, 10-5. The Pirates kept the set close but were unable to tie the set and lost 25-19.
In the third set the Hall took an early 8-4 lead. Notre Dame went on a 6-2 run to even the set up at 18-18. The Pirates won the next three points and won 25-22.
“Notre Dame is an awesome team,” Zeiter said. “We have played a lot of good matches and this proved we can play with the best, but it would have been nice to win.”
Both teams started the fourth set trading points with Notre Dame but the Hall was able to pull the set within one before the Fighting Irish finished the set and match on a 9-2 run.
The Pirates return home on Friday to face St. John’s with the team one spot out of earning a playoff berth.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.