When a University wins a team championship at the Division I level, it is a big accomplishment. Well, your Duquesne Dukes were able to secure four team titles during the fall sports season as the volleyball team captured the Atlantic 10 regular season crown and won the Atlantic 10 post-season tournament, the women’s cross country won the Atlantic 10 title, and football finished as co-champions of the Northeast Conference.
The women’s cross country team was the first team to capture a title by winning the 12-team Atlantic 10 Championship race on Nov. 2 in Mechanicsville, Va. The Dukes outran host Richmond who finished second in team points. The victory made it Duquesne’s first women’s team championship in school history. Amber Valimont paced the Dukes in fourth place in the 111-runner field. She, along with Haley Pisarcik (6th place) and Valerie Palermo (10th) were all named to the All-Conference team.
The volleyball team became the first Duquesne team to qualify for an NCAA Championship in over 35 years. The Red and Blue improved to 20-9 on the season after defeating VCU, 3-1 in the Atlantic 10 Championship title game on Nov. 24. One week later on Dec. 1, the team gathered in the Palumbo Center to watch the NCAA Selection Show to find out its first round opponent. The Dukes learned they would travel to Lexington, Ky. to take on 15th-seeded Kentucky on Dec. 6.
The football team finished the season with a 7-4 record and finished in a tie for first place with Sacred Heart with identical 4-2 records to share the regular season crown. Sacred Heart though, by virtue of its win over the Dukes, received the league’s automatic bid to compete in the NCAA Championship. Nine Duquesne players – including six underclassmen – were named All-Northeast Conference in a vote of league coaches.
Considering that the University had only won two Atlantic 10 championships prior to this year (men’s basketball in 1977 and men’s cross country in 2005), the future is looking bright for Duquesne Athletics.
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