Ashley Kneemueller | Clarion

DU Volleyball added another victory to their 8-2 record when they swept the Gonzaga Bulldogs at home last Friday night in three sets. Gonzaga dropped to a 4-6 record as senior Kayla Principato (Rockville Centre, N/Y.), junior Becca Latham (Austin, Texas) and senior Cassie Baird (Indianapolis, Ind.) led the team in 25-21, 25-23 and 25-15 straight wins.

Principato led the team in another stunning performance of 12 kills, hitting .500. Latham trailed close behind with 11 kills. Baird had a double-double, recording 10 kills and 10 digs. Junior Emma Willis (La Jolla, Calif.) recorded a team-high of five blocks, and DU athletes continued to outperform Gonzaga as senior Piyusha Boteju (Euless, Texas) led the team with 19 assists. Junior Olivia Novotny (Germantown, Tenn.) had two aces.

As a team, DU hit an impressive .291 recording 41 kills, 41 assists, 48 digs, eight blocks and five aces.

DU Volleyball also played UC Riverside at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a match against San Diego State at 7 p.m. DU swept Riverside in three sets, but lost to San Diego in four sets, 3-1. UC Riverside defeated San Diego State 3-2 in five sets this weekend on DU’s home court.

Willis started the Gonzaga match strong, winning the first three points with her kill followed by two Gonzaga hitting errors. The game was in DU’s favor, and after the Bulldogs managed to score, DU lead in a 4-0 run to make the score 7-2. DU continued to lead with runs similar to this one, but the Bulldogs rallied to make the score 21-18 at one point. After a Denver timeout, Baird and Latham finished the game with three kills to end the first set, 25-21. Baird was the star of the first set with 5 kills, followed by Latham and Principato, each with 4 kills. Overall, DU had 15 kills in the first set, hitting .312.

The second set was much closer, and DU was not the obvious winner. Instead, the set consisted of 11 ties and four lead changes. The set began with a close first 10 points, which resulted in a 5-5 tie. DU then gained momentum with a 6-2 run, resulting in an 11-7 score. Gonzaga then bounced back to tie the set at 16. Baird, again, fought hard for DU as they found themselves falling behind, and ended the set with an ace and two kills and a final score of 25-23 in favor of DU.

Willis came out ready to win in the third and final set with back-to-back assisted blocks. There were two ties and a lead change early in the set, but DU lead themselves to an overall match victory with the momentum of the game in their favor and a series of runs. DU closed the set strong with a 6-1 run that lead to a 25-15 overall score. DU recorded 11 kills in the third match, hitting .381. Novotny added another ace in the set, giving her five aces in the season thus far.

DU volleyball will host Fort Wayne on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. and then head to North Dakota the following week.