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McCurdy Named ACC Defensive Player of the Year
Release: 11/23/2011
Ali McCurdy
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke sophomore libero Ali McCurdy was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was one of three Duke players selected to the 2011 All-ACC Volleyball Team, as announced by the league office on Wednesday.

Joining McCurdy on the All-ACC team were senior setter Kellie Catanach and junior middle blocker Christiana Gray. Blue Devil freshman outside hitter Jeme Obeime also earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team. All league awards and all-conference teams are voted on by the ACC's 12 head coaches.

The All-ACC selection is the second for McCurdy and Gray and the third for Catanach, who was the ACC Player of the Year last season. Those three, along with Obeime, have helped Duke post its ninth straight 20-win season in 2011 with a 20-8 record and a 14-5 mark in ACC play.

McCurdy, a 5-7 sophomore from Tampa, Fla. (Plant), leads the ACC and ranks 11th nationally with 5.71 digs per set. She has surrendered just 19 receiving errors in 28 matches and is the anchor of a Duke defense that is holding teams to a .194 hitting percentage. McCurdy became the fastest Duke player to reach 1,000 career digs earlier this year, and her career average of 5.26 digs per set is on pace to break Duke's all-time record.

Catanach, a 6-2 senior from Tampa, Fla. (Plant), recorded her 5,000th career assist earlier this season and is ranked second all-time at Duke in career assists. A four-year starter and two-year team captain, she has directed a balanced Duke offense this season that ranks among the top five in the ACC in hitting percentage, assists and kills and has four players with at least 200 kills. Catanach has netted 14 double-doubles this season while averaging 2.42 digs and 0.53 blocks per set.

Gray, a 6-5 middle blocker from Carmel, Ind. (Cathedral), emerged as one of the best middle blockers in the ACC this season and ranks second in the league with a .392 hitting percentage. She reached the 300-kill mark this year for the first time in her career while also setting career highs in blocks per set, attacks, hitting percentage and total points. Also a 2010 All-ACC selection, Gray averages 4.71 kills for every attack error this season.

Obeime, a 5-11 freshman outside hitter from Carmel, Ind. (Brebeuf Jesuit), was one of the top newcomers in the ACC after knocking down 230 kills on her 611 attacks (38 percent). She averaged 2.45 kills and also contributed 11 service aces this season while playing in 27 of Duke's 28 matches. She has double-digit kills in 11 matches and has picked up 30 blocks.

Duke has now had multiple All-ACC selections for five consecutive seasons and an ACC record 74 selections all-time.


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