DEPAUL 3, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 1 (27-25, 25-21, 27-29, 26-24)
DES MOINES, IOWA – The DePaul Blue Demons earned their first postseason win in program history with a thrilling 3-1 victory (27-25, 25-21, 27-29, 26-24) over Southern Illinois to advance to the second round of the 2023 Women’s NIVC.
For a program that had yet to experience a postseason victory prior to today’s match, DePaul showed incredible poise, erasing three-point deficits late in the first and fourth sets.
The Blue Demons trailed 23-20 in the first set before they rattled off four straight points to take the lead, and eventually the set. In the second set, DePaul carried its momentum and jumped out to a lead on Southern Illinois and held on to take the second set.
The third set found Southern Illinois playing like a team with its back against the wall. SIU jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the set and held onto that lead until DePaul was finally able to tie it up at 22-22. The two teams traded points down the stretch with Southern Illinois fighting off three match points to eventually take the set, 29-27.
In the fourth set, the Salukis jumped out to an early lead again and led 18-15 late in the frame. DePaul recovered, though, scoring four of the next five points to tie the set at 19-19. Down the stretch, DePaul fought off a set point and scored the last three points of the set to take the match.
Jill Pressly led the Blue Demons with 18 kills and 11 digs, while Audrey Klemp added 16 kills and five digs on .364 hitting. Nataly Garcia (19 kills) and Tatum Tornatta (18 kills) paced the Salukis in the match. DePaul advances to the second round where it will take on the winner of Chicago State and host Drake on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.
DRAKE 3, CHICAGO STATE 0 (29-27, 25-18, 25-16)
DES MOINES, IOWA – After making a run all the way to the NIVC Championship last year, the Drake Bulldogs are looking to make a run once again in the 2023 Women’s NIVC. The Bulldogs got off to a good start on Wednesday night, defending their home court and knocking off Chicago State, 3-0 (29-27, 25-18, 25-16).
The first set put the Bulldogs on their heels with Chicago State starting out strong. The Cougars jumped out to an early lead and led by as much as five points at 20-15. A timeout by Drake settled the team down and the team responded by scoring six of the next eight points to make it a one point game. Drake fought off three set-points before taking the final three points and seizing momentum in the match.
Coming off that strong first-set comeback, the Bulldogs once again found themselves in a position to comeback in the second set as Chicago State jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Not to to be deterred, Drake rattled off eight of the next nine points to take a 9-6 lead in the set, and never looked back. The Bulldogs won the second set 25-18 and carried that play into a match-deciding third set, which the Bulldogs won 25-16.
Chicago State was held at bay by Drake’s tough defense, hitting just .129 in the match with 18 attack errors. The Bulldogs were led by Taylor Oberpriller, who had 12 kills and 22 digs, and Haley Bush, who finished the match with 11 kills and 12 digs.
Drake will host DePaul, who knocked off Southern Illinois, 3-1, tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET in the second round of the Women’s NIVC.