Despite forcing a fifth set, the DePaul Blue Demons lost their Dig Pink match against St. John’s, 3-2.
“I think our fight was there, I think our resiliency was there, for sure… We executed the scatter report, we were very technical,” head coach Nadia Edwards said. “I think St. John’s is a very technical team in terms of what they do, and we knew where that ball was going, especially in the first two sets, we were able to key in on their attackers and slow down one of their main attackers. We knew where the ball was going and we were actually dictating where the ball was going.”
During their first set, the Blue Demons found themselves down at 21-15. Junior Colleen Smith began to work up the ladder with great serves, accompanied with kills by freshman, Brittany Maxwell who notched a team-high of 17 kills. Eventually, the team forced a total of five ties, but fell at 27-25.
The Blue Demons notched the match up in the second set. They began with a 3-1 lead, almost closing at 24-21. Striking performances came from junior Jasmine King who landed a career-high of seven blocks with ten kills, and only one error. A final ace by senior, Callie Huebner finished off the set for the Demons at 27-24.
Come third set, St. John’s proved to be too powerful of a force for the Demons to handle.
“I think the opposing team made some really good adjustments in terms of their defense and then it took us awhile to adjust to their adjustments,” Maxwell said. “We just didn’t come out as strong as we’d like to in the third set.”
The freshman’s forceful kills weren’t quite enough for St. John’s continuously cemented blocks. Again, finding themselves down at 21-15, the Demons continued to show resilience by bringing the scoreboard back up to 24-23. St. John’s, however, took the set soon thereafter.
“Where we struggled was our first-ball contact and our offense, so we need to be able to pick those things up and make sure that everybody is in sync,” Edwards said. “When we’re passing balls that we’re able to get that first-ball kill, and then when we’re not passing the ball, we need to put it in a safe place.”
The fourth set swung back to the Blue Demons as they went pulled out a close set with the match on the line.
“We were all just carrying each other in terms of energy, like if someone else was down, someone else was there to take the play,” Maxwell said. “Everyone was just really supportive of each other when we were on the court, like ‘c’mon, you’ve got the next one.’ so I think that’s what really helped.”
A game filled of mental errors from both sides, St. John’s was able to come up and snatch a final set win to finish the match at 15-11. While a disappointing loss for the Blue Demons, Maxwell still feels the team isn’t far off from where they want to be.
“We definitely need more mental preparation, I think that’s the key to our success at this point,” Maxwell said. “Everyone just needs to rely on each other if they need it or pick someone up if they see they’re down, and just enter into it as a team.”
The Demons continue their home games this weekend when they face Providence on Saturday, Oct. 17 at McGrath-Phillips Arena. Looking to get rid of their three-game losing streak, the team is focusing on fresh starts.
“We’re back at it, (and) we need to make sure that we’re being resilient. Tomorrow’s a brand new day and a brand new team,” Edwards said. “We’re at home and this is the beginning of our home stretch. We talked about having confidence and playing well here, so we’re over tonight’s match and we’re moving on.”