Sep. 4, 2014
DENVER - Tomorrow evening marks the first of Denver's three games this weekend hosting the annual Pioneer Classic, held in Hamilton Gymnasium. The Pioneers start off their matches against Sam Houston State at 7 p.m. MT, followed by Bradley and Kansas Saturday at 12 p.m. MT and 7:30 p.m. MT, respectively.
Check out the weekend preview HERE, and follow @DU_Volleyball for game updates.
HEAD COACH Jesse Mahoney
University of Denver head coach Jesse Mahoney is into his third campaign at the helm. Working on a tenth-straight winning season of his career, Mahoney will look to surpass last year's record of 17-13 which saw the Pioneers make the Summit League Tournament Championship game. With 199 career wins already to his name, Mahoney enters the 2014 season with a 37-26 DU record, and a 199-77 career record. The volleyball journeyman also spent seven seasons assisting Colorado State's volleyball team, amassing a 162-51 record which included seven NCAA Tournament appearances and five Mountain West Conference championships.
2014 SUMMIT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL
After finishing runner-up in both the regular season and at the league tournament last year, Denver was picked to win the Summit League in the 2014 Summit League Preseason Coaches' Poll, followed by Fort Wayne and IUPUI. The Pioneers went 8-4 in league play and 17-13 overall last season. The Pioneers received 60 points and six first-place votes in the poll.
SETTING THE STAGE
Having sat out part of the season last year due to injury, senior Bailey Karst showed no hesitation during Denver's first weekend out, racking up 113 of DU's 144 assists, good for second in the Summit League. Karst also ranks third in the league in assists-per-set, with 9.42 over three games. Karst is backed this season by sophomore transfer Monique Domme, who was out with injury last weekend, and freshman Piyusha Boteju, who registered seven assists and nine digs in nine sets.
KILLING THE COMPETITION
Picking up where she left off last season, sophomore Moni Corrujedo notched 44 kills, fourth in the Summit League, and six service aces, tied with senior Kate Acker for first in the league. Last year, Corrujedo finished with 323 kills, and looks to continue that proficiency. Acker currently sits atop the league in four different categories, recording 57 digs (4.75 per set) and six aces (.50 per set).
CHARTING THE COURSE
Karst, Acker and Corrujedo were not the only ones to start off topping the charts. Junior Sarah Schmid leads the league in hitting percentage as she completed the weekend at .476, following her path last year when she ranked second amongst Pioneer starters with .350. The Pioneers also hold fourth place in blocks, with Schmid, freshman Cassie Baird and sophomore Ruth Okoye recording nine apiece.
NEW FACES, NEW TAKE
For the 2014 season, the Pioneers welcome eight newcomers, six of whom saw action last weekend. Penn State transfer Erica Denney appeared in eight sets, notching 14 kills and two digs, while Colorado native Taylor Loyd registered two assists and nine digs in eight sets. Cassidy Rooke (two assists, one ace, 13 digs) and Kayla Principato (five kills) also made the scoresheet in 11 and five sets, respectively.
MAKE IT NATIONAL
Coming off a bid for the Conference title, Denver looks to return once again to the postseason, setting its sights toward the elusive NCAA Tournament. Mahoney is no stranger to the national stage, having helped his CSU Rams to seven straight appearances, and along with 2014 NORCECA Championships-winning assistant head coach Tom Hogan and assistant Katelin Batten aims to see his Pioneers bring home the trophy for the 2014 season.
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