Caitlan Gannam | Clarion

Entering the middle of their regular season schedule, the DU volleyball team has found a hot streak in its last four matches, going 4-0. The squad has downed conference opponents North Dakota State (3-2), University of South Dakota (3-0), South Dakota State (3-0) and Western Illinois University (3-0) between Oct. 14-23.

DU began their recent victory streak at home, beating North Dakota State in five sets on Oct. 14. Denver took the first two sets (25-20, 27-25) but had a difficult time closing out their opponents, who took the third and fourth sets 25-22. In a dramatic fashion, the Pioneers emerged victorious by a 16-14 score in the final frame.

Senior right side hitter Kayla Principato (Rockville Center, New York) led the team in kills with an incredible 19. Sophomore middle blocker Emma Willis (La Jolla, California) impressively led the team in both blocks (nine) and aces (three).

Still acting as host, Denver welcomed conference leader South Dakota to the Mile High City on Oct. 16. DU would win in three straight sets, by scores of 25-23, 25-18 and 25-21.

The team’s leader in kills was senior Ruth Okoye (Aurora, Colorado) with 11. She also sported a .556 hitting percentage and led the team in blocks with four.

This past weekend saw the team travel to two separate conference arenas. First, DU downed South Dakota State in three straight sets (25-17, 25-18 and 25-21) on Oct. 21. Willis paced the team with eight kills and an outstanding .727 hitting percentage. Okoye again led the team in blocks with four.

The team then traveled to Western Illinois for its second road game of the weekend on Oct. 23, again finding victory in three straight sets (25-12, 25-23 and 25-12). With ten kills, Principato led the team in that category to go along with a .471 hitting percentage.

Denver volleyball now sits in second place within the NCHC conference standings. Their 8-2 conference record is only slightly behind South Dakota’s 8-1 with many games left to be played.

DU welcomes Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne in its next conference tilt on Oct. 28 at 6 p.m.