Ashley Kneemueller | Clarion

DU Volleyball faced Fort Wayne in five sets last Sunday, claiming victory in a 3-2 set match-up. The Pioneers started the match strong, as junior middle blocker Emma Willis (La Jolla, Calif.) recorded 5 kills, hitting .833. As a whole, DU hit .214, recording 10 kills. Willis put points on DU’s scoreboard on the first serve of the game, and added another kill, after a Fort Wayne kill error and service error to start a strong lead, 5-1 Denver.

Willis continued with her game domination as she served from the back row to continue the Denver lead 1-7. After a quick momentum change, DU gained possession of the serve with a kill from graduate student middle blocker, Teal Schnurr (Westminster, Colo.), resulting in a 3-8 score. Fort Wayne came back to attest for a 7-11 score with Pioneer kill and service errors, but senior outside hitter, Cassie Baird (Indianapolis, Ind.) ended their run with a kill, keeping the score at 7-11. Freshman setter, Ellie Anderson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) continued the Denver lead with key serves that stretched the score to 11-19. Kills from Willis and senior outside hitter, Becca Mau (Longmont, Colo.) brought the Pioneers within one point of a win for the set. An error from Fort Wayne sealed the Pioneer victory, 15-25.

The second game was one of many ties and comebacks. Senior setter, Piyusha Boteju (Euless, Texas) began the set serving, scoring 1-0 Denver. Fort Wayne came back with a kill, tying the game 1-1. But DU bounced back with a kill from senior right-side hitter, Kayla Principato (Rockville, N.Y.). Willis added another kill to her stats, after a Fort Wayne attack, for a 2-3 Denver lead, but Fort Wayne answered to tie at three with a kill. Junior outside hitter, Becca Latham (Austin, Texas) added a kill after a Fort Wayne run to tie the set at 5-5. Anderson followed suit, and after another Fort Wayne point tied the game with a kill, 6-6. With attack errors, DU fell behind 11-7. Principato ended a six kill run with her own kill from the right side, resulting in a score of 13-8. Baird recorded an ace, and Principato added another kill, trying to comeback with the score at 13-10 in favor of Fort Wayne. Principato continued her comeback mentality with a double block assisted by Willis. A Fort Wayne error and a kill from Willis brought the score to 14-12.  Freshman middle blocker, Tina Boe (Plymouth, Minn.) added two kills between a Fort Wayne point to bring the score to 16-14, which was followed by two Latham kills to bring the Pioneers to a tie at 16-16. Despite the Pioneer effort, Fort Wayne finished with a 25-21 final. Latham recorded four kills in the set.

In the third set, the Pioneers trailed for a comeback, finally tying the set at 17. And then again at 18..and 19..and 20. DU Volleyball finally gained the lead in the set with a kill from Latham 20-21. They tied again at 21 with a Fort Wayne kill, but DU won the third set, 22-25.

Fort Wayne stole the fourth set 25-21, sending the Pioneers into a fifth game to 15.

Fort Wayne scored the first point of the set, but Principato answered back with a kill, tying the set 1-1. Schnurr answered back after a Fort Wayne point, tying the game again at two. Then, Denver stole the lead, 3-2. Fort Wayne answered back with a kill, tying the final set again at three. Fort Wayne trailed DU, as the Pioneers set their eyes on a win. The opposition called two timeouts in the fifth set, first when DU led 11-7, and then again with a DU lead of 9-13. Latham ended the match with a kill, giving the Pioneers a 3-2 set win.

Principato and Willis both recorded 14 kills in the match, Principato hitting .355, and Willis hitting .303. Latham recorded 12, and performed at clutch moments to lead the Pioneers to the win. Boteju lead the team with 33 assists. Boe recorded a team-high of four blocks. Senior libero, Cassidy Rooke (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) led the Pioneers with 17 digs. Baird had a team-high of two aces, as well as recording four kills.

The DU Volleyball team heads to North Dakota this weekend to face North Dakota State.