Lone senior Courtney Boyd got the best gift a senior could ask for on her senior night: A chance to play another game.
Rallying for their senior, the Duhawks faced off against their cross-town rival, the University of Dubuque, with post season play on the line. Not only did they need to win the match, they had to do it quickly. Loras, and Iowa Conference foe, Simpson were in a tie breaker scenario heading into the match. Loras needed to win the match in four sets in order to win the tie breaker with Simpson. For Loras, it was win in four and they were in – a loss or a win in five, and their season was over. Fortunately for the Duhawks, they came out motivated and ready to play, winning 3 out of 4 sets and giving their senior one more game.
In set one, the Duhawks gained their first lead at point 15. Shortly after, leading 16-14, Loras had two quick kills to bring their lead up to four, and force a Spartan timeout. Even after their timeout, Dubuque continued their error-filled game, bringing the Duhawk lead to 7. Coasting to the finish of set one, Loras held off a late surge by Dubuque to take set one, 25-20
Set two had more of the same for the Duhawks. They carried their momentum into set two with a 9-3 lead out of the gate. After rolling to a convincing 25-13 set two victory, the Duhawks could see their post season dream becoming a reality.
Dubuque wasn’t going to lay down for their rivals however, and they put the pressure back on the Duhawks by winning set three 25-19. Loras again jumped out to an early lead, but couldn’t stop a Spartan surge during a 10-2 run. Unable to recover in set three, the Duhawk season came down to one final set.
With their backs against the wall many times this season, the Duhawks seemed comfortable in the win-or-go-home situation. Their poise late in the set was not matched by their opponents from Dubuque. Tied at eight, the Duhawks scored two quick kills, putting the pressure on Dubuque. Sensing the momentum shifting toward Loras, Dubuque called a time out in hopes of stopping the Loras run.
Coming out of the timeout, Loras was ready to finish off Dubuque and head to the postseason tournament. They never trailed for the remainder of the match and won 25-18, finishing the four set victory over Dubuque and qualifying them for the Iowa Conference Tournament.
Loras (14-18, 2-5 IIAC) finished as the No. 5 seed in the conference, giving the Duhawks a first-round match-up with the No. 4 seed Central.
Against Central Tuesday night, the Duhawks came out sluggish, dropping the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-18. With their season on the line, the Duhawks fell behind early and weren’t able to rally, falling to the Dutch, 25-16.
The 3-0 loss knocks the Duhawks out of the Iowa Conference Tournament.