Seton Hall came into Friday night looking to duplicate the outcome from their first matchup with DePaul on Sept. 3, a 3-0 win and did so on the back of a strong night from Dominique Mason, who led the Pirates with 13 kills.
The Pirates opened the first set strong as they took a 6-3 lead. This lead continued to grow and was extended to 10-6 after a strong kill by Amanda Rachwal up the middle
The Pirates continued their early aggression and eventually opened up a 16-8 lead. DePaul would fight back, though, as they cut the lead to 23-19 after several long volleys. Head coach Allison Yeager promptly called a timeout, and following the timeout, the Pirates played a stout defensive game and ended the first set, 25-20.
Coming into the match, Yaeger had a strategy to defeat the Blue Devils, and it centered on stopping Brittany Maxwell from doing damage.
“It actually did not work out too well…it was really hard for us to stop her,” Yaeger said.
But Maxwell was about the only thing working for DePaul. Despite her game-leading 15 kills, fortune favored the Pirates.
The second set turned out to be the closest of the evening, as the teams opened it battling for momentum. The teams exchanged blows, and Caitlin Koska slammed home a kill to knot the set up at nine-all.
Seton Hall created separation at 16-12, although just as it seemed the set was lost for the Blue Devils, Maxwell had a ferocious kill that pulled momentum back their way. With the set tied again at 20, Yeager called another crucial timeout. Similar results followed from the first set, as the Pirates came out and stole the second set. Rachwal and Sharay Barnes combined for a block to end the set, 25-22.
The set proved to be more than just an ordinary building block toward a Pirates win, but one in which Pirates libero Sarah Kenneweg recorded her 1,000th career dig.
Abby Thelen set the tone for the third and final set, as her kill propelled the Pirates to an early 4-0 lead. The Blue Devils showed their last signs of life as they tied the match at nine, however another kill by Thelen later put the Pirates up 14-11, and they did not look back. The Pirates ended the third set in dominant fashion, 25-15.
Looking forward to their next match against Marquette, Yeager knows size will play a major role.
“They are really big, really physical, and really good hitters,” Yaeger said. “We’re going to have to take them out of system and worry about what we can control, which is us.”
Seton Hall will face Marquette tomorrow, once again in the home confines of Walsh Gymnasium.
Dalton Allison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DaltonAllison4.