MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University volleyball team fell in its last non-conference match of the season against Duquesne 3-2 (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 11-15), Saturday, at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (8-11, 0-5 Big 12) won the first two sets against the Dukes (16-6, 4-1 Atlantic 10) before falling in the final three sets.
“We came out really strong in the first two sets,” coach Jill Kramer says. “We had a commanding presence on the court and tables turned a little bit in the next three. We simply didn’t side out as much as we wanted. We gave them more points in the last three sets then we did in the first two sets. You can’t do that and expect to come out with the ‘W’ against a team like this.”
WVU found itself trailing in the first set when Duquesne posted multiple blocks to take a 6-2 lead. The Mountaineers fought back with three kills from freshman outside hitter Hannah Sackett
to tie the match at nine and would gain the lead with three more kills from Sackett. WVU would keep a steady two-point lead the rest of the set as freshman middle blocker Caleah Wells
put down a kill to end the set 25-20.
The two teams would trade points to begin the second set until a kill by sophomore middle blocker Evyn McCoy
put WVU on a 4-1 run. The lead was extended more after kills from freshman setter Brittany Sample
and Wells gave WVU a five-point advantage. Duquesne could not close the gap as junior outside hitter Elzbieta Klein
recorded her fourth kill of the set to take the second set and a 2-0 lead in the match.
After the break, WVU took an early 9-5 lead off of service aces from McCoy and Klein. The Dukes would come back to tie the match at 12 as the two teams traded points the rest of the set. A kill by Allison Foschia and an error by the Mountaineers with the match tied at 23 gave Duquesne the advantage and its first set in the match.
Multiple attack errors by the Mountaineers at the beginning of the fourth set led Duquesne to take a 6-2 lead and forced WVU to call its first timeout. A kill from Sackett led to a 4-1 run by WVU to tie the match, but a balanced attack by Duquesne put the Dukes back in the lead. The Mountaineers would tie the match at 20, but kills from Arielle Love and Nora Young finished off the set for Duquesne and sent the match into the deciding fifth set.
The Dukes used the momentum from the previous two sets to take a 10-5 lead in the fifth set. WVU attempted a comeback with a strong serving run by freshman libero Anna Panagiotakopoulos
, but the lead was too much as the Mountaineers fell in the fifth set 15-11.
Sackett led all players with 20 kills and a.378 hitting percentage while Klein and McCoy posted 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Sample recorded her 10th double-double of the season with 45 assists and 13 digs while Panagiotakopoulos led all players with 19 digs.
WVU will hit the road for its next match, as the Mountaineers travel to Ames, Iowa to take on No. 22 Iowa State at 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
“It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net, we have to bring our ‘A’ game and execute our game plan,” Kramer says. “Iowa State digs a lot of balls and transitions the middle blockers really quick. They are a solid team and we are excited to get into these Big 12 environments every single time.”