By Danielle Hines | Staff Writer
After a straight-set win over the Robert Morris Colonials this week, Duquesne volleyball has now won nine consecutive over its crosstown rival dating back to 2008.
The Dukes won 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-19) in under an hour and a half as junior outside hitter Molly Davet led all players with a double-double consisting of 13 kills and 10 digs.
Now in his 15th season at the head of the program, head coach Steve Opperman pushed his record to 15-4 all-time against RMU. Opperman wasn’t overly impressed by his team’s performance, but the win was key for the Dukes as they have now won back-to-back matches at the conclusion of their non-conference schedule.
“It has been a long time since we’ve beaten Robert Morris 3-0,” Opperman said. “We didn’t play well. We came out flat, but we did what we needed to do to win.”
Duquesne was in control for the first set with Davet tallying five kills while leading her team to a 25-22 win.
However, Duquesne wasn’t able to get in rhythm early on due to the Colonials dominance at the net. Robert Morris doubled Duquesne’s block total in the match by recording 10.5 blocks compared to just 5 for the Dukes. But as the match went on, Duquesne began to find some more room to swing.
“We just started being smart,” Opperman said. “Our attackers were just swinging down at the ball way too much when we were in system, and that’s why we were getting blocked. So we made adjustments during the intermission and I thought we did a better job in the third set.”
In the second set, the Dukes stormed out to an 8-3 lead early on and carried that through the remainder of the set — never trailing for a single point on their way to a 25-21 win. Sophomore middle hitter Johnson, sophomore outside hitter Maddie Bazelak and Davet combined for 13 kills in the second frame.
The third set, Duquesne got off to a slow start for the first time on the night, but after trailing early they fought back to win the set 25-19 and secure the straight-set 3-0 match win.
“I think the key to winning tonight was that we played as a team,” freshman middle hitter Liz Wayne said. “Skill-wise we were struggling, but we were able to play together and pick each other up.”
Wayne joined the team a bit late this year and has played in just four of Duquesne’s 17 matches, but is starting to come into form in her collegiate career. Wayne recorded six kills and one block assist in the match versus Robert Morris.
Fellow middle hitter Kori Johnson found tons of success at the net for Duquesne as she tallied nine kills and secured a .533 hitting percentage in the match.
Duquesne will look to build on its 5-0 record at the A.J. Palumbo Center when it takes on conference foe Virginia Commonwealth University at home this Friday.
“We just have to play with confidence,” Opperman said. “We can’t take teams for granted, but we know we can play at a higher level and we need to make sure that we challenge ourselves to do that every night.”