Duquesne Takes Five-Set Victory
The Dukes came up swingin’ in Albuquerque on Friday night.
No, not the city’s former minor league baseball team. It was the Duquesne Dukes who outswung the UNM volleyball team in a five-set battle at Johnson Center.
Duquesne actually earned its 15-25, 25-21, 25-19, 24-26, 15-10 win more with judicious play than big arm swings. In other words, the senior-laden Dukes made fewer mistakes.
Lobo Classic: UNM vs. Southern 11 a.m.; UNM vs. Duquesne, 7:30 p.m. Johnson Center
“We outhit them, out-dug them, outblocked them, basically outplayed them in every statistical area,” Lobo coach Jeff Nelson said, “and yet, we lost the match. Too many mistakes. Our immaturity really showed.”
UNM finished 1-1 on Day One of the season-opening Sheraton Airport/LA Boxing Lobo Classic, rolling to a 3-0 sweep of Southern before falling to Duquesne. The three teams will square off again today, with the Lobos facing Southern at 11 a.m. and Duquesne at 7:30.
“It’s definitely good playing (the Dukes) again,” Lobo junior Lexi Ross said. “There’s going to be a learning curve for this team, and now we know their tendencies and who their big hitters are. Besides, we can put this one behind us.”
Friday night’s stat sheet was not one for the Lobo archives. The Lobos hit .190 to Duquesne’s .142, had 58 kills to the Dukes’ 51, had five more blocks and five more digs.
UNM also had more errors: 51 combined to Duquesne’s 42.
“We just didn’t put the pieces together,” Ross said.
After dominating Southern 25-10, 25-9, 25-12 in slightly more than an hour, the Lobos started fast against Duquesne. Ross, Chantale Riddle and Elsa Krieg controlled the net as UNM finished set one with a 12-4 surge.
But the Dukes got more than even, pulling away to win the next two sets. Sara Scheirman and Allison Foschia provided hitting pressure, while the Lobos suddenly struggled to pass or set effectively.
“Duquesne is a veteran team that won 19 games last year,” Nelson said. “They’re steady.”
The Dukes led set four 23-20, but UNM battled back behind Krieg and Riddle to pull out a 26-24 win and even the match. Riddle finished with a match-high 20 kills.
But the mistake bug bit New Mexico in set five. With the score 7-7, Duquesne scored four straight points – three on UNM errors – to take control for good.
Ross collected 13 kills for the Lobos, while Scheirman and Foschia had 12 apiece for Duquesne.
Neither UNM nor Duquesne had much trouble defeating youthful Southern earlier in the day. Both matches went three sets.
Riddle had nine kills and Ross seven to pace the Lobos, who got kills from nine players and used all 11 players in uniform for at least one set.
NOTE: An MRI on Lobo freshman Ashley Kelsey’s left knee revealed a torn ACL that will keep her out for the season. Kelsey, who was injured in last week’s alumni match, will have surgery in the coming weeks.