Eric Purnell | The Duquesne Duke
The Duquesne volleyball team got back to their winning ways last Sunday, defeating La Salle 3-0 in what showed to be a sentimental game for the Dukes.
The first set began and was a back and forth battle till the end. The Dukes squeezed out a 25-23 win at the end, but it was a sloppy one.
Coach Steve Opperman acknowledged a lack of composure.
“I wasn’t pleased with our performance in the first set. We just didn’t come out fired up, and made way too many mistakes, and maybe it was a little bit of nerves because it’s senior night and things, but I think our kids rebounded,” Opperman said.
Senior outside hitter Marah Farage also expressed that nerves had some involvement in the team’s first set struggles.
“I think it was just excitement and nerves. It was a different way to start the game, and once we got out there and got our team going it was fine,” Farage said.
In the second and third sets it was a completely different ball game, as Farage and Opperman eluded to. The Dukes came out strong in both sets and did not look back, winning both sets by a commanding score of 25-10.
Opperman was pleased with his team’s turnaround and the overall performance in the last two sets.
“In sets two and three we got contributions from everybody on the floor. Every player played, and I thought we did a really nice job. Our middles, especially, did a really nice job of putting balls away, and blocking too,” Opperman said.
Opperman also pointed out the importance of the team’s ability to finish strong, especially in a game like that.
“Our kids are staying disciplined, throughout the whole set. When you’re beating someone fairly decisively, sometimes it’s easy to, kind of let your mind wander and let up, and I thought our kids did a really nice job of staying focused through the whole set, and finishing strong,” he said.
Along with his appreciation of their performance, the team was also thrilled to pull out the big win on senior night and end their regular season on a high note.
Senior Allison Foschia said that senior night was something special.
“It feels awesome [to win on senior night], the fan support was crazy, from both our families and our friends. It was really special, and it was just awesome to get another win, and just help propel us for next weekend,” Foschia said.
The next weekend will be a huge one for the team, as it could leave them the regular season champions of the Atlantic 10.
Opperman and his squad understand the importance of their next game, but also embrace and look forward to their shot at glory.
“We need to be prepared. We’re going to play for the A-10 championship, at VCU on Friday, and I know our kids are hungry and ready for it,” he said.