DePaul Women’s club volleyball wins DI-AAA National Championship


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DePaul women’s club volleyball poses after winning its first Division lAAA National Championship tournament since 1945 on April 15.

DePaul’s women’s club volleyball team won the Division IAAA National Championship tournament in Kansas City on April 15 by defeating Harvard two sets to none. This is the first championship for the  club since 1945.

“I cannot put how I felt into words,” said senior setter and team captain Kendall Richardson. “There were only three of us coming back after Covid, so I did not really know what our team was going to look like, but everyone was in the same mindset to win and do it for each other.”

Going into the season, DePaul was tasked with forming their own identity as a team. Once the season started, it was clear that they were a force to be reckoned with, winning two of its regular season tournaments leading up to the National Championship tournament. 

“I think from a volleyball sense, people began to realize who we are and what we can do,” Richardson said of the team’s identity. “It’s no longer ‘oh, what school is that?’ and now people are beginning to say this game is going to be tough, and I think this is the type of thing that pushes a program forward.”

DePaul stumbled out of the gate in pool play, dropping its first match against Harvard in three sets after taking them to extra points in the first set and taking the second.

“We thought that was a turning of the leaf for us.” said junior and tournament MVP Chrisavgi Kotsifas. “We started to take every set one at a time after that.”

DePaul then won the next two against Miami in two sets and Kentucky in three , advancing into the gold bracket of the tournament.

By using its high-impact hitters, Kotsifas and sophomore Madeline Truka, as well as their quick offense, DePaul was able to outpace the taller opposition. 

Richardson was intent on setting each ball not looking to perpetuate the rally, but to set up all of her hitters for the kill. 

“When our serve receive was on and we were getting good passes, we were able to run a really quick and efficient offense,” Richardson said. “That’s what we really needed to beat these teams, because they were bigger than us and had huge blocks we had to work around.”

DePaul went into the second day of the three-day tournament with momentum, taking care of Binghamton University handedly through two sets. The Blue Demons then came back for the second game, beating Yale in more dominant fashion.

“I have never seen us play like that together,” said junior Elanor Meier. “Volleyball is a team sport, but it’s also so individualistic because everyone has to do their job to be successful as a whole, and the next two days we were all doing our job.”

Winning both games on the second day earned them a spot in the gold bracket, meaning championship implications were in the balance of every game going forward. 

DePaul took on Miami University of Ohio in the opening round of the gold bracket. The RedHawks put up a fight, taking the first game 25-20. DePaul then battled back, winning 25-21 thanks to a 14-point serving run from sophomore Julia Vukic. 

DePaul kept its momentum going into the third set, outlasting Miami 15-11. Truka ended the match with a dominant 10 kills, catapulting the Demons into the championship match.

The Blue Demons were tasked with playing the championship match just minutes after they had just secured a spot in the game. Their opponent, Harvard, was the only team they had lost to in the entire tournament. 

Just minutes prior, Harvard had also just played a full game and chose to not warm up before the championship match, a sign Richardson saw as complacency.

“Our mentality was just to finish it,” Richardson said. “We have come this far and are off of eight-straight wins so we just wanted to get the job done.”

DePaul turned the tide on its previous opponent, dominating Harvard in the first set 25-14. The Blue Demons earned a hard-fought second set victory 25-23 en route to earning DePaul’s first women’s club volleyball championship in school history.

“I think this championship is going to drive the girls to keep it going next year,” Richardson said. “I think this will also inspire other clubs that know we came from nothing and brought home a National Championship.”