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by Sam Ellison

This past weekend, the volleyball team dropped two losses at home against DePaul and Notre Dame, kicking off a four-game home stand. The ’Cats uncharacteristically lost 3-1 to the Blue Demons last Friday night in four sets by scores of 23-25, 25-22, 25-23 and 25-17. This marks the first win for DePaul in the past eight matches against the Wildcats.

In a rather demoralizing match, junior libero Mariah Henley continued her consistent defense and notched a career high 34 digs in the match, eclipsing the 1,000 digs mark for her career. This marks the third match this season in which Henley recorded 30 plus digs.

The ’Cats took the first set of the match, but could not manage to overcome the Blue Demons after. In the third set, the two teams battled it out with 13 ties and four lead changes, keeping the game close.

The Wildcats stayed resilient as the Blue Demons began to pull away, retying the score several times but slipping up with two consecutive kills as DePaul took a 2-1 set lead.

Unfortunately, the ’Cats fell flat in the fourth set as the Blue Demons went on a decisive 9-1 run to build a comfortable lead and the Wildcats were only able to close the gap by six points before DePaul claimed the final set, 25-17.

Freshman setter Emma Pettit tallied her sixth double-double of the season with 40 assists and 12 digs, as well as two aces and two kills. Senior outside hitter Krista Andersen and freshman Colleen Hickey both had nine kills and freshman outside hitter Lauren Carpenter led the Wildcats and Blue Demons with 15 kills and 3 assists.

The next match was no better as the ’Cats fell to Notre Dame in a rare straight set, 3-0 loss last Sunday in Jake Nevin, 25-15, 25-18 and 25-13.

The Wildcats were not able to generate much offense, but the defense continued to play well behind another fine performance from Henley, who recorded 24 digs.

The ’Cats came out flat losing by 10 in the first set and never got into much of a groove the rest of the match either.

The Wildcats came out to a 3-0 lead in the second set after one service and two attack errors.

Although they stretched the lead to 9-8, the Fightin’ Irish came back with four straight points and the Wildcats never recovered.

In the third set, Notre Dame jumped out to a 6-0 lead and the Wildcats never got closer than five points in a tough home loss. The Fightin’ Irish kept the offense quiet with 11 blocks throughout the match.

“As a team, we continue to play hard despite the loss of two starters (Pethokoukis and Edwards) within the past two weeks,” Henley said after the matches. “DePaul was a tough match we were hoping to win knowing they had already played a tough schedule to date. Notre Dame is a physical team and we played hard but couldn’t seem to gain any momentum. “

The Wildcats return to action against Syracuse in the annual “Dig Pink” next Saturday at 1 p.m. in Jake Nevin Fieldhouse.

Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of raising awareness for breast cancer.

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