Marquette hands DePaul volleyball first loss in five-set affair

It had to come to an end eventually, and it was a spectacular way to finish the streak.

DePaul volleyball started the season 13-0 before falling to Marquette in five sets Saturday, dealing the Blue Demons their first loss of the year.

The squad was energized and came out strong in the first set in front of 624 fans at McGrath- Phillips Arena. DePaul won the first set 28-26 and controlled play, but the Golden Eagles rallied to win the next two sets.

“I think we came out really strong and we really knew what we were supposed to do,” senior Vesela Zapryanova said following her 17-kill performance. “Our energy dropped after the first set and I think that’s why we lost the second and the third set.”

Still, head coach Nadia Edwards was very impressed with her team’s valiant effort.

“I told them to keep their heads up. It’s the beginning of conference play and I think they did a really good job,” Edwards said.

After falling behind two sets to one, DePaul rallied with a 27- 25 fourth set win. In the fifth and decisive set, the Blue Demons jumped out to a 4-1 lead before falling apart and ultimately losing the set 15-9.

One of the stories of the match was the suspect officiating. Several calls were missed or wrongly made, and there were multiple stoppages in play where the officials didn’t seem to know what to call. At the end of the second set, Marquette was rewarded a point that changed the complexion of the match.

“That’s their job. I can’t do anything to change it. We’re on the court just to play,” Zapryanova said.

Edwards shared her sentiment. “I always tell my girls that regardless of whether you get a call or not, it’s never going to be a perfect game, and it wasn’t, but you have to stay resilient and really fight for the next point.”

The crowd voiced its displeasure over the officiating, but was loud and congratulatory for much of the match. Every point was met with raucous noise and the environment was superb.

“It’s awesome. I think the girls were welcomed home and it was awesome to see such fan support,” Edwards said