Denver Wins Conference Opener 3-1, Sets Up Sunday Showdown

Photos: Courtesy of Jason Evans

Denver Volleyball (10-5, 2-1 Summit League) powered by South Dakota State Friday night home opener in Hamilton Gym 25-13, 25-15, 29-31, and 25-18. The 3-1 win sets up an early season conference showdown between league favorites, DU and South Dakota, Sunday 12:00 pm MT at Hamilton Gym.

DU’s powerful front line dominated the Jackrabbits as Denver won the first two games in convincing fashion. Denver fell behind in the third game but rallied to take the match to extra points, eventually falling to the visitors. Denver regained their dominance in the final game to seal the match. Junior Lydia Bartalo and senior transfer Amanda Green had 11 kills each. Junior Tina Boe had 10 kills with freshmen Brianna Green and  Ari Winters with 9 kills apiece. Junior libero Macy Carrabine had 24 digs for the night and Lydia Bartalo and Ellie Anderson chipped in with 13 each. Denver controlled the match at the net with their size and athleticism.

Lydia Bartalo, Denver’s MVP so far this season, on the success of the front line and new faces, “We have a specific system system here and the newcomers came in and worked really hard. There’s a lot of expectations on them but they pulled through. We’re really excited to be back again (at home). We’re excited to play South Dakota (Sunday). We’re going to play them like we play every team. Just go out and work hard.”

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Lydia Bartalo continues to be the best player on the floor for the Pioneers

Head Coach Tom Hogan as always see’s more room for improvement. “I don’t think we’re quite together yet. I think our inconsistency is showing that a bit. We still have a way to go (with inconsistency) when you haven’t played together for a long time. When we are playing within our systems, we look good. It’s a young team and we will put it together by the end of the season. We took our foot off the gas in the third set. We need to learn from this match.” As for the third game that DU dropped, Hogan added, “Its the tale of this season so far. In certain sets, we look like a top 50 or top 25 team and in other sets, we look like a 325 or 350 team.” Game-to-game improvement has been a recurring theme for Hogan and his squad. And, there is little time to waste as conference rival South Dakota (14-1, 3-0 Summit League) rolls into Hamilton gym Sunday afternoon.

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The team signed team photos for fans after the match against South Dakota State University. The team is hosting a post game clinic following Sunday’s match against South Dakota.


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