Butler bests DePaul in Big East home-opener


Kiersten Riedford

DePaul sophomore setter Maggie Jones stretches for the save during Friday night’s loss against Butler. The Blue Demons lost three sets to one in the Big East matchup with the Bulldogs.

DePaul did not get the result they were looking for in their Big East home opener Friday. Dropping the match three sets to one puts the Blue Demons winless to start the Big East.

The Blue Demons were able to salvage a third set win to steal some momentum from the Butler Bulldogs, but it was too little too late.  

Head coach Marie Zidek explains her reasoning postgame for why the team got off to such a slow start. 

“There was a little bit of a learning curve in the first two sets of what it was going to take to be competitive with a team that wins a lot through their block and defense,” Zidek said. “I just thought what Butler did was they came in and out competed us. They won the long rallys, and that’s what we were used to doing to [teams] and they did right back to us.” 

From the start, it was evident Butler seemed to be playing a more fluid, fast paced game. The Bulldogs’ hits were splitting through the gaps left from the Blue Demons late block that they produced, which left a larger task for the defense. 

Junior libero Rachel Krasowski had the most digs from either team on Friday, but said the team cannot get used to just playing complacent volleyball after putting together one good set. That needs to be shown throughout the whole match to receive the results they want. 

“We are really young in a sense, but it is not an excuse whatsoever.” Krasowski said. “We need to get out of this mentality that we win a set and can roll over and just play complacent volleyball. So at the end of the day we need to just work together as a team, support one other and find that competitive drive.” 

The Big East features top level talent in the country so far. With the No. 17 ranked Creighton Blue Jays and No.19 ranked Marquette Golden Eagles ahead, the Blue Demons cannot dwell too much on these losses, because the schedule will not wait on anyone. 

Coming into the season, DePaul was voted in the coaches preseason poll to finish third in the conference, making them eligible for the Big East tournament, but the team’s 4-10 start  is worse than expected  a month into the season. 

Head coach Marie Zidek directs her team during DePaul’s match to Butler on Friday. The Bulldogs bested the Demon’s 3 sets to 1. (Kiersten Riedford)

Midway through the fourth set in a back-and-forth game, the Blue Demons trailed 11-12 and in a long rally were set up perfectly to even the score. After losing the point, Zidek threw her hands in frustration and proceeded to call a timeout to discuss an approach for the rest of the set. 

“I just thought that at that point in time we were trying to play cute volleyball and not just go for it,” Zidek said. “It was a fourth ball exchange in the rally and worked [our hitter] into a one-on-one and that is not a time to tip, that’s a time to rip it.” 

Zidek said her team needs to understand the scenarios and the importance of these matches to get the best result possible. She said these are the mistakes the team should be making back in the middle of August, not near the end of September. 

“What I told the team is if this happened on Aug. 23, I would be totally patient and I would educate,” Zidek said. “At this point in time, it is Big East play and everybody is out for everybody and at a whole different level of intensity.” 

In the short time that the Blue Demons got the offense going and were successfully getting swings at the net, sophomore middle Aly Kindelbeger was second on the team with 10 kills, and got the Blue Demons on the right track. 

Following the first set, Zidek made adjustments in the lineup and put in junior middle Sara Griffith to help move the block. Griffith immediately made an impact as she and Kindelberger both anchored the block. 

“We need to get better at starting faster and jumping on teams that we should be beating,” Kindelberger said. “Sara brings more experience to the court and a better look on the block.” 

DePaul will not have much time to think about the what-if’s of this game. Big East play continues on Friday Sept. 30 and Saturday Oct. 1, when the Blue Demons host Providence and UConn on back-to-back nights looking to get their first Big East win of the season. 

Connect with Preston Zbrosczcyk: @PrestonZbroszc1 | [email protected]