By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke
It hasn’t been a great start to the season for the Duquesne women’s volleyball team as the club has now dropped to 0-2 in Atlantic 10 Conference play. The Red & Blue are currently 6-10 overall and have lost four of their last five matches, including the team’s 2-1 loss to Saint Louis this past Sunday.
Despite giving up a few easy points, SLU looked to be a much stronger team. The Dukes reached the 10-point mark before the Billikens did, but St. Louis was always within striking distance. The same back-and-forth play continued throughout the set, and in the end the Dukes took the first set 25-20.
Offensive support from junior outside hitter Madelynn Burnham and junior middle hitter Lacey Levers kept the Dukes in the game and ultimately aided their first set win. Levers led the team in first set kills after producing five.
“[We] came out pumped-up against St. Louis. All of us came out really excited and motivated to start off strong,” Levers said. “Thinking back to last year, we met them in the first round of the A-10 Tournament and I was just excited to come out and prove to them that we’re a good team.”
The Dukes fell back in the second set, allowing SLU to take the lead early on. Their defensive effort kept SLU from scoring much after the 10th notch, and allowed for some tallying on the Dukes’ end. Duquesne nearly tied it up around the 12-point mark, yet failed to block the majority of SLU’s shots. From that moment on it was St. Louis’s game, and they finished off the set 25-18.
By the end of the second set, junior libero Sammy Kline managed to rack up 15 digs.
“Our big focus before this game was aggression,” Kline said. “We wanted to go out in every aspect and be aggressive, and I think that was just what was on my mind. Every ball was mine.”
With a tied game, both teams came out ready to take the lead in the third set. Duquesne produced a bit more at the start, and were able to take an early advantage. SLU trailed until their tying kill at 14 points, and quickly countered with another five unanswered marks. Within five points from winning the set, SLU had a 10-point lead over the Dukes. Jumping on their successful run, the Billikens topped off the third set 25-18.
Unwilling to let SLU take it away, the Dukes kicked off the fourth set, capitalizing with a few early. SLU’s own offensive effort prevented room for comfort, and St. Louis won the race to the first ten points. The Red & Blue regained the lead at 12 points, and St. Louis answered immediately, keeping the game tied. Duquesne regained the lead, making it to 20, and three unanswered strikes later, SLU tied it back up. The Dukes dropped the final set 25-21.
In the end, sophomore middle hitter Abbie Trzeciak and Burnham’s play offensively carried the team, with 12 kills apiece.
“We have really good passers on our team,” Burnham said. “When they give a good ball it’s easy to put the block better, I think this week we’ll be blocking a lot.”
Duquesne also lost their matchlast Friday night against the Dayton Flyers. The final score was 3-1.
Next Saturday at 4 p.m., the Dukes will look to turn it around when they face another A-10 opponent in La Salle at home.