Duhawks beat Simpson for 1st Iowa Conference win of season

photo by Natalie Droeske

The women’s volleyball team has 18 matches down and 12 to go in the regular season; plenty of time for a turnaround.
Currently, the Duhawks are 9-9 and sitting at a .500 win percentage. While it might not be the most ideal situation for this point in the season, the team appears to be ready to make some waves in the Iowa Conference.

In the coming weeks, Loras has a mixture of conference and non-conference opponents, including one final tournament in Whitewater, WI. Of the 12 remaining matches, four will be against Iowa Conference teams, both home and away. These matches will be crucial as Loras is 1-3 in conference on the season.

The team earned their first conference win of the season over the weekend. First, the Duhawks traveled to Pella, IA, on Friday to face Central. Loras got out to a great start, taking the first two sets, 26-24 and 25-20. As the scores show, however, the Duhawks and a tough time kept fighting through the last point.

Central persevered, however, and rallied to win the third and fourth sets, 25-22 in each. Every match contained multiple rallies as the ball was constantly flipping back and forth between the sides. Tied with two sets apiece, the match went to a fifth frame.

Unfortunately, the Dutch’s comeback effort came to fruition as they topped Loras 15-12 in the third set and 3-2 for the match. Nevertheless, the game featured in impressive performance by senior Therese Schultz, who recorded 14 kills and five blocks.

The team took to the road again on Saturday, but this time to Indianola, IA, to face Simpson. The Duhawks dominated and earned their first conference victory in sweeping fashion. The team held nothing back as they took the first two sets 25-16 and 25-14. The final set was a bit closer, but Loras was still able to clinch it 25-23 and take the match 3-0. This was the fifth time this season the Duhawks swept an opponent.

Schultz was once again a staple performer for the team, tallying nine kills and two blocks. While the New Lennox, IL, native has a large role on the team, the roster is really well-rounded. Several players have had their time to shine and everyone has been a contributor to the team’s overall performance.

A good indicator of the importance of every team member is that head coach Jenna Ness cannot highlight one specific player for her part on the team.

“I think all of our players stick out to me in different ways for their leadership styles and abilities,” Ness said.

A roster composed of four first-years, five sophomores, two juniors and four seniors brings a lot of character to the team. This lineup is a bit different than last season: the 2015 roster consisted of one lone senior. This year, four Duhawks claim seniority. Ness appreciates having this core group of women.

“It is awesome having four seniors on our team. They’re all able to bring something a little bit differently and we can rely on them for different things,” she said.

The team will need to rely on everyone, not just the seniors, to garner some victories in the final 12 matches of the season. After facing Buena Vista on Wednesday, the Duhawks will return to Lillis Court to face a new conference opponent in Nebraska Wesleyan. First serve is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.

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