Denver Volleyball Dumped Out of Summit League Tournament by SDSU, 3-2

#3 Denver volleyball (23-6, 14-4) led the match 1-0 and 2-1 but the #6 SDSU Jackrabbits came back, sweeping the last two sets, to finish off the Pioneers, 3-2 on Thanksgiving night. The match ends the season for DU, who lost three of their last five matches to end the season, an atypical finish for a flagship program that started with early-season wins against USC and Iowa.

In the fifth and deciding set, the Jackrabbits pounced on Denver and led 8-1.  At that point the match was all but over, ending at 15-10. Denver had 33 errors on the night, their second-worst result of the season. The final score (25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 10-15) sends Denver home in the quarterfinal loss at Vermillion, S.D.

The bright spot in the match for Denver was the performance of Hailey Green, the Freshman of the Year for the Summit League. Green ended the match with a season-high 23 kills and 2 blocks. An injured Erica Andrich, one of DU’s top hitters with 220 kills on the season, finished with 2 kills on the night in limited action.

The loss marked the end of the college volleyball careers for Summit League first-team players Tina Boe and Lydia Bartolo along with setter Ellie Anderson and Erica Andrich, all grad students. Michelle Feliciano is graduating as a true senior. These seniors/grad students went 110-27 in their careers and had one of the nation’s top road win records over that span.


3 thoughts on “Denver Volleyball Dumped Out of Summit League Tournament by SDSU, 3-2”

  1. This tourney should have been played in Denver, at the home of the previous year’s champion, the Denver Pioneers. The fact that the tourney was played in South Dakota was thievery…

    That said, DU getting bounced by a #6 seeded SDSU team that DU had swept twice this year (and beaten 18-1 since joining the Summit), is a truly sub-standard performance from DU. This season, which started so promisingly, ended in failure. Losing three out of five down the stretch for a team that should have been peaking, will provide plenty of fodder for the coaches to review.

    Certainly, injuries play a role. But these coaches have to be concerned that DU’s dominance in the Summit League has now emphatically ended, with another year without an NCAA appearance (last one was 2018), despite winning almost 80% of its matches.

    DU needs to invest in marketing this program. It needs a home court advantage. That could be the difference moving forward…

  2. Some excellent points Swami. Women’s volleyball has surpassed women’s basketball in participation (Denver Post). Two of the USA’s 12 players that won the recent Olympic Gold were from Colorado. According to a recent AVCA study, “Women’s volleyball is closer to being revenue positive than any other broadly sponsored women’s sport.” I attended the DU-UMKC match in Kansas City and they had cheerleaders and a whiteout – DU had no such event(s) this season plus no band. On the road, DU faced 550 fans per game and 295 (avg.) showed up for DU games at home for what has, traditionally, been the best team in the Summit League. A home match against UMKC was moved on a Thursday to noon (147 fans) so women’s basketball (376 fans) could play CSU at 7:00. That is not good enough support to justify the team that Denver has on the floor. DU should have a minimum of 1,000 fans average per match in a large metro like Denver. Actually, it is embarrassing that the school does so little to support a top-level program like this one. Try to recruit top-notch players when they compare the game day environment to the one at Denver. Major changes are needed if we want our teams to perform at the highest level. They deserve high-level support if our expectation is championships, year-in and year-out. Period. Like the brokerage houses say, “Past Performance is no Guarantee of Future Performance.”

  3. Agreed…DU is not making choices to get more fans in the seats. I used to attend a least 3-4 matches per season at DU because I thought the competition was good for the value, but don’t see myself doing that anymore as it is now ~$20/match just to get in the door now that they’re charging for parking. For $40 you can get an entire season ticket at CU and watch Pac-12 level volleyball and only drive a bit further to see the action at $5-8/match depending on how many times you go. Unfortunate that you have to win the league to get in the tournament, but it’s just a fact of life in these smaller leagues.

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