Since their loss at home to VCU in the regular season, Duquesne Volleyball has gone on a tear that took them all the way to the Atlantic 10 Championship losing once in fourteen games and dropping only 10 sets along the way. This afternoon they finished off that same Rams team in the finals for their first bid to any NCAA tournament since 1977.
Duquesne dominated the first two sets. They destroyed a bewildered looking VCU in the first with an impressive .394 hit percentage. By the end of the second set, the Rams began showing some life before heading into the break. VCU and conference player of the year Romana Kriskova saw the momentum fully shift in their favor to easily take the third 25-18. That momentum carried to the fourth set jumping out to an early 8-3 lead. While the Rams’ frontline was on fire, the Dukes had trouble passing from the back line to setter Mary Henry until taking two consecutive points and finding their stride again. Duquesne chipped away eventually tying the set at thirteen a piece. It went back and forth from there with neither team able to take much of a run before the Dukes won the final three points of the match culminating with a Sammy Kline service ace on championship point.
In his post game interview, head coach Steve Opperman said of his team, “Whatever player was on the floor they stepped up and did their job.”
The Dukes placed three on the all tournament team Henry, Marah Farage, and outstanding player Arielle Love who had 10 kills to 1 error this afternoon.
This was the team’s first finals appearance and of course, the schools first A-10 championship in volleyball. Duquesne will learn their opponent in the NCAA tournament next week.