Ashley Kneemueller | Clarion

DU Volleyball team downed Western Illinois in three sets on Oct. 13 on their DU home court, Hamilton Gymnasium. They dominated in the first set with a 25-11 final score, 25-23 in the second and finished the match with a 25-18 victory.

With the perfect sweep of the Western Illinois squad, DU moved to a 13-5 record and a 4-2 record for Summit League play. Crimson and Gold Volleyball retains a perfect 9-0 against the Illinois Leathernecks, without dropping a single set on the season. Western Illinois fell to 6-14 overall record and 1-5 in league play with the loss.

The team’s  elevated dominance in the match could have been due to a new starting lineup. The Pioneers debuted the lineup for the match with senior outside hitter Cassie Baird (Indianapolis, Ind.), senior libero Cassidy Rooke (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), junior outside hitter Becca Latham (Austin, Texas), freshman middle blocker Tina Boe (Plymouth, Minn.), junior middle blicker Emma Willis (La Jolla, Calif.), graduate student right-side hitter Teal Schnurr (Westminster, Colo.) and freshman setter Ellie Anderson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) getting the start. It was the first career start for Anderson.

Latham led Pioneer Volleyball with 11 kills. Boe hit an impressive .769 in the match. Senior setter Piyusha Boteju (Euless, Texas) led in assists with 21, and Rooke recorded 12 digs on the match. Willis had six total blocks (one solo and five assisted). Baird, Anderson, Boteju and Rooke all had two service aces in the match.

As a team, the Pioneers hit .300 in the match, with 45 kills, 41 assists, 50 digs, eight total team blocks and 10 service aces.

Head coach Tom Hogan was proud of his players.“It’s fantastic to be back at DU in Hamilton Gymnasium,” he said. “Our team played great on defense and we served well tonight.. We continue to improve on the offense side, and we look forward to the challenge that we have this Sunday as we face a very good South Dakota team.”

In the following Sunday match, the Pioneers also won in three straight matches against South Dakota, 25-14, 25-17 and 25-21. The Pioneers now stand at a 14-5 record on the season and 5-2 in the Summit League matches.

Latham recorded a team high of 14 kills, hitting .636 in the match. Anderson had a career and team-high 25 assists in her second start. Rooke had 18 digs on the afternoon to lead the team. Willis recorded five assisted blocks to lead Pioneer Volleyball. Boteju had a career-high three service aces, while adding another double-double to her season after recording 11 digs and 10 assists. Boteju has a team-high seven double-doubles thus far.   

As a team, Denver hit .289 in the match, with 48 kills, 44 assists, 63 digs, eight total team blocks and six service aces.

Denver hits the road for an Oct. 28 match at Fort Wayne, with first serve scheduled for 5 p.m.