After tough weekend, Dukes come out on top

Rich Donahue | The Duquesne Duke

Connor Hancovsky | Multimedia Editor  Freshman outside hitter Madelynn Burnham prepares to defend the ball. The Duquesne volleyball team handed WVU their first loss of the season.

Connor Hancovsky | Multimedia Editor
Freshman outside hitter Madelynn Burnham prepares to defend the ball. The Duquesne volleyball team handed WVU their first loss of the season.

The Duquesne women’s volleyball team managed to eke out a 3-0 win over West Virginia University in a non-conference matchup Tuesday evening.

 The Dukes won each set of the tight contest over the previously undefeated Mountaineers 25-18, 25-20, and 27-25.  The win brings the Red and Blue back up to .500 for the season at 5-5.

 Coach Steve Opperman stated that controlling the game helped lead the Dukes to a win.

 ”I thought we controlled the tempo of the match,” Opperman said. “West Virginia played well in that final set and I thought our kids played well in the first and second set and were able to fight back in the third set to win.”

 The first set started off as a seesaw battle for the Dukes. After going back and forth for most of the first set with the visiting Mountaineers, the Dukes eventually secured a comfortable led and won 25-18.

 Opperman stated that it was nice for the team to rebound after struggling and losing all three of their matches in the Hokie Invitational over the weekend against Virginia Tech, William & Mary and Lipscomb in Blacksburg, Va. .

 ”I think after going 0-3 over the weekend it was nice for our kids to rebound to understand that we are a good team,” Opperman said. “We have two starters that aren’t playing right now and the kids that stepped in for them did a really nice job.”

 The second set provided another back and forth affair for the Dukes.  As fate would have it, the Red and Blue were able to overcome their opponent, winning the set 25-20.

Senior Marah Farage said that it was a good team effort that allowed them to take the first two sets.

“I said in the locker room that it was a really good team effort,” said Farage. “Everyone worked together really well in those first two sets.”

 After the short break, the Mountaineers came up strong against the Dukes in the third set.  Losing 17-14, Opperman elected to take a timeout and acknowledged that the move helped the team refocus.

 ”I think we just needed to get the kids to settle down,” Opperman said about the timeout.  “They just needed to take a deep breath, relax, and we would go from there.”

 The timeout benefited the Red and Blue and caused a change in momentum.  The Dukes were able to overcome the deficit and won the set in thrilling fashion 27-25 to finish off West Virginia.

 Junior Arielle Love stated that the win will give the team a lot of confidence going forward.

 ”This game is definitely going to give us a lot of confidence,” Love said.  “After a rough weekend we have people coming back and we should take it into the weekend.”

     With the win, the Dukes have now won five straight matches against the Mountaineers dating back to the 2008 season. When asked whether they considered West Virginia a rival, Farage said she considers “every opponent to be a rival,” while Love added, “We love beating them, especially at home.”

 The Dukes will be on the road this weekend as they will be playing in the Spartan Classic alongside the Cincinnati Bearcats, the Eastern Michigan Eagles, and the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan.  The Dukes’ next home game will be Sept. 27 as they open up conference play against the University of St. Louis.

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