The Dukes (19-9) will be making their first-ever appearance in the finals. It will also mark the first time since 2002 Dayton has not advanced to the championship match. Duquesne had four players record double-digit kills, led by Madelynn Burnham 15, which equaled the 15 kills by Dayton’s Megan Campbell, as the players shared match-high honors. The Dukes also had 11 total team blocks, led by six from Arielle Love.
Duquesne dominated set one, behind a nearly perfect offensive performance from Arielle Love, who had six kills and no errors to hit .750. Love also had two blocks, part of four total team blocks by the Dukes in the first set. DU scored the first three points of the match to spur a set-opening 11-5 run. Dayton was sparked by an ace from Jenna Jendryk and kills by Shayne Brown and Jill Loiars that closed the gap. The Flyers closed to within one, but a kill by Love, sparked a 9-2 run that closed out he set for Duquesne.
Burnham and Marah Farage each had six kills in set two to spur the DU attack. Allison Foscia contributed four kills. The three players combined for a 12-5 run put the Dukes in control, but the Flyers responded by scoring seven of the next eight points to pull back within one, thanks to a series of kills by Campbell. Duquesne closed out the set with kills from Farage and Burnham and an ace by Sammy Kline for the 25-20 win.
The teams traded points through most of set three, but Dayton finished the set strong, getting points on a pair of aces by Campbell, and kills by Isolde Hannan, Shayne Brown and Alaina Turner. The set was tied at 18 before Dayton closed out with its run, limiting the Duquesne points to a pair of UD service errors, leading to the 25-20 win.
The fourth set was also a back-and-forth affair, but two Dayton attack errors and kills from Love and Farage gave Duquesne the 25-21 win and the Dukes first trip to the finals.
Love and Farage each had 11 kills for the Dukes and Foschia finished with 10. Brown and Turner had 13 and 10 kills respectively for Dayton.
Defensively, Patti Abshire had a match-high 27 digs for Duquesne and Foschia had 14 for a double-double. Turner also had a double-double for Dayton, recording 15 digs. Janna Krafka had a team-high 23 digs. Turner and Hannaneach had four blocks to pace the Flyers.
Dayton is 15-13 overall and 8-6 in regular season Conference play and will play Bowling Green next week to close out the season.