Volleyball snaps streak, sweeps La Salle
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 23:10
The Duquesne women’s volleyball team swept La Salle 3-0 Sunday afternoon at A.J. Palumbo Center and also raised money and awareness for breast cancer.
The team is still reaching out for donations to the Side-Out Foundation, an organization dedicated to breast cancer research. The Dukes raised money by selling “Dig Pink” T-shirts in addition to a pink duck toss promotion at the intermission.
Duquesne coach Steve Opperman was pleased with the event and the attendance.
“It was nice to see all the people come out and support the cause,” Opperman said. “We were excited to have a nice crowd for the match.”
This win snapped a four-game losing stral for the Dukes.
The first set got off to an explosive start as LaSalle led 4-2 before a series of five successful serves by freshman outside hitter Nora Young.
“It helps that we have a really good blocking team,” Young said. “I was trusting that my team was going to get the job done defensively.”
The teams traded points before a string of skillful Duquesne attacks gave the Dukes momentum. Neither LaSalle timeouts nor points given to LaSalle could stop the Red and Blue as they steamrolled past the Explorers to win the first set 25-17.
LaSalle once again struck first as they opened the set 5-2. The Explorers’ lead increased to four after the Dukes struggled to regain their composure. After trading points back and forth, LaSalle once again pulled away, taking a 13-9 lead.
After the stoppage of play, the Dukes rallied behind the tag team of Mary Henry and Marah Farage. The Dukes tied the lead at 17 and 18 before a string of Jones’s serves gave the Dukes a 22-18 lead. La Salle provided a late scare, defending four straight game points before finally giving in as the Dukes won the set 25-23, taking a 2-0 set lead going into the intermission.
During the intermission, the Dukes made a note to work on their offensive play, but were confident they could rebound from their struggles, Young explained.
“After the break, we knew it was our game,” Young said. “We just said, ‘What can we do? Let’s turn it around and play our game,’ and that’s what we did.”
Henry also had a lot of confidence in the team.
“At West Virginia, we were down 0-2 and won, so we knew we would come back with a lot of intensity.” Henry said. “It was all on our side of the net… We needed to pass that and attack.”
The Red and Blue led early in the third set, running away with a 7-1 lead helped by five straight kills by sophomore Arielle Love.. The Dukes’ early lead was never taken back by the Explorers, as the Dukes took a 14-3 lead and finished off the sweep with a 25-12 set win.
The win improved the Dukes to 18-6 on the year with an Atlantic-10 record of 6-1, which has the team second in the conference standings.
Opperman said the Dukes’ second set struggles went back to the team not attacking the ball.
“We just needed to take care of the ball on our side of the court,” Opperman said. “We waited for La Salle to fall apart instead of being the aggressive team.”
Young was thrilled with her team’s performance.
“This was a solid game. It was good to finish them off in 3 sets,” Young said.
Love and Allison Foschia led the team with 15 kills each, while Henry led the team with 40 assists, and libero Patti Abshire finished with a team high of 13 digs.
The Dukes will go on the road to Charlotte this Friday and VCU on Saturday. The team will be looking to retain their momentum for the A-10 Tournament hosted by Duquesne at the A.J. Palumbo Center, which runs from Nov. 16 to 18.