Dukes serve victory in home tournament
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 23:09
The Duquesne women’s volleyball team cruised to a three-set victory over Bucknell to cap its undefeated weekend.
The Dukes went 4-0 on Friday and Saturday in the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational, improving their overall record to 7-1.
Three of the Dukes’ four wins came from sweeping their opponents in three sets, while the other victory came from defeating Loyola 3-1. Last year, 15 of the Dukes’ 19 wins came from sweeping opponents.
Coach Steve Opperman said that sweeping comes down to controlling the match.
“Teams get on a run in volleyball and you get on a run and sometimes it’s hard to break momentum,” Opperman said. “But I think the three matches we won three to nothing, we controlled the tempo of the game. Overall I think we played solid ball.”
The Dukes momentarily appeared to lose the tempo of the match against Bucknell when they went down 8-4 and could not quickly overcome the deficit. After a couple of bounces went their way, the Red and Blue tied the set 13-13 and maintained control, winning it 25-22.
Opperman told the team to calm down during the second set.
“We [the coaches] told them to relax and play it one point at a time and to stay aggressive. Good things would happen and we crawled our way back in and they took over from there,” Opperman said.
Senior Sara Scheirman said that the focus was to not dwell on the small things during the second set.
“If you make one mistake, move on with it,” Scheirman said. “Terminate the ball every single time and just take it to them. Put them down, let them make their mistakes and play our own game.”
During the third set, even though the Dukes were winning, Opperman looked aggravated on the sidelines after little mistakes such as not playing forward to the ball, which resulted in points for Bucknell.
Opperman said the little plays will become big in the long run.
“Our program is at a certain level, and we want to take it to another level or two. We had to make smaller plays better,” Opperman said. “We can’t let balls hit the floor with no one going after them. Those little things ... were frustrating me in the first set and in the second set. We know that if we’re going to get better and compete against higher level competition, we need to make those plays.”
Junior Allison Foschia, who was voted Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, said that Opperman’s expression gave the team an extra boost during the third set.
“Anytime that he [Opperman] shows emotion, we have to really focus,” Foschia said. “I think it shows that we pulled through at the end. Sometimes we kind of fall apart, but I think we were consistent during that third game and were able to pull it out.”
Scheirman looks at each new game as a different test to prepare the team for the Atlantic 10 tournament, which will be hosted at A.J. Palumbo Center Nov. 16 through Nov. 18.
“Being that this is a home tournament on our home court, it definitely helps build the momentum for whenever we go into A-10 play,” Scheirman said. “These are definitely a wide variety of teams, which helps us prepare for when we’re going to be playing ... and it helps us prepare for what’s ahead.”
The Dukes are on the road at the Ameritas Players Challenge in Nebraska this weekend and will return home on Sept. 18 to take on cross-city rival Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.