The Duke volleyball team wrapped up another successful campaign in 2011, reaching the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive year and placing three players on the All-ACC and All-East Region Teams. With a final overall record of 21-9 and an ACC mark of 15-5, Duke continued its climb into the upper echelon of college volleyball. The 2011 season featured an impressive number of highlights, including a major ACC award for libero Ali McCurdy, a new school record and the swan song for Duke's senior class which was one of the winningest in school history.
McCURDY NAMED ACC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Sophomore libero was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year after leading the ACC and ranking 12th nationally with 5.73 digs per set. The native of Tampa, Fla. (Plant) had nearly 100 more digs than the next closest ACC libero and was the key component of a Duke defense that held opponents to a .196 hitting percentage. McCurdy, who also recorded her 1,000th career dig, is on pace to break Duke's all-time digs and digs per set records.
FOUR BLUE DEVILS EARN ACC HONORS
McCurdy was one of three Blue Devils to appear on the All-ACC team, joining former Plant High School (Tampa, Fla.) teammate Kellie Catanach and junior middle blocker Christiana Gray. Freshman outside hitter Jeme Obeime was also named to the ACC All-Freshman team. Catanach, Gray and McCurdy were also named to the 2010 All-ACC Team. The All-ACC selection was the third for Catanach, who was the 2010 ACC Player of the Year.
CATANACH, GRAY & McCURDY NAMED ALL-EAST REGION
Catanach, Gray and McCurdy were also named All-East Region for the second straight year. Duke has now placed at least two players on the All-East Region Team every year since 2005 and at least one player on the team for eight consecutive seasons.
DUKE MAKES 17TH NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE
Duke advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th time in program history and for the ACC-record seventh consecutive year. The Blue Devils have advanced to the tournament 10 times in 13 seasons under head coach Jolene Nagel.
BLUE DEVILS POST EIGHTH STRAIGHT 20-WIN SEASON
With a final record of 21-9, the Blue Devils won at least 20 matches for the ACC-record eighth straight year. Duke has posted at least 20 wins every year since 2004 and owns a combined 198-51 (.795) record during that span.
SENIOR CLASS LEAVES ITS MARK
Duke's senior class of Kellie Catanach, Sophia Dunworth, Kayla Kirk and Amanda Robertson went out as the eighth winningest class in Duke volleyball history in terms of total wins and the seventh best class in terms of winning percentage. The quartet posted a four-year record of 100-31 (.763), won two ACC Championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament four times. Those four are only the eighth class in school history to win 20 matches every year and only the fifth to advance to four NCAA Tournaments.
McCURDY BREAKS SINGLE-SEASON DIGS RECORD
Libero Ali McCurdy broke Duke's single-season digs record by picking up 653 digs this year. That bests the mark of 644 set by Duke's all-time digs leader Jenny Shull in 2007. McCurdy, who also had the fourth most digs in school history as a freshman in 2010, is the second player at Duke to record 600 digs in two different seasons.
CATANACH LEAVES AS ONE OF ACC'S BEST
Senior setter Kellie Catanach, the 2010 ACC Player of the Year, an All-American and a three-time All-ACC selection, amassed the second most assists in school history. Her 5,363 assists made her only the third player in Duke history to record more than 5,000 assists and put her in ninth place on the ACC's all-time leaderboard. A four-year starter, Catanach is the third player at Duke to post at least 1,000 assists in all four seasons. She also reached the 1,000-dig plateau and ranks 20th on Duke's career digs list.
DUNWORTH JOINS 1,000-KILL CLUB
Senior Sophia Dunworth recorded her 1,000th career kill this season and leaves Duke with the seventh most kills in school history. A native of Pleasanton, Calif., Dunworth posted 1,291 kills during her four-year career and had at least 295 every season. She led Duke in attacks over her final two seasons and posted a team-high 341 kills as a senior.
GRAY RANKS AMONG NCAA TOP-10 IN HITTING PERCENTAGE
Junior middle blocker Christiana Gray, who led the ACC in hitting percentage as a sophomore, repeated that feat again in 2011. Her .396 hitting percentage was tops in the ACC and also placed ninth nationally. She put down a career-high 315 kills as a junior while committing only 68 attack errors. Gray hit .500 or better 10 times this season and over .300 21 times.
ACC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Christiana Gray and Ali McCurdy were both named ACC Player of the Week this year, and freshman Jeme Obeime garnered ACC Rookie of the Week honors twice. The Player of the Week citations were the first for both Gray and McCurdy.
NAGEL CLOSING IN ON MILESTONE
Duke head coach Jolene Nagel inched closer to recording her 500th career win this season. A 23-year coaching veteran, Nagel owns a 492-261 career record with 289 of those wins coming at Duke. She has earned career wins 300 and 400 during her 13-year career at Duke and is also closing on Duke's all-time wins record of 301 held by Jon Wilson.
CATANCH CONTINUES STRONG SETTING TRENDSAT DUKE
Duke head coach Jolene Nagel and associate head coach John Wasielewski have produced some of the top setters in ACC history during their 13 seasons at Duke, including 2008-11 starter Kellie Catanach. Among Duke's best products at the position are 2006 ACC Player of the Year Ali Hausfeld, who ranks second all-time in ACC history with 6,183 assists from 2004-07, and Catanach, who finished her career ranked second in that category. Catanach and Hausfeld own six of the top 10 spots on the Duke's single-season assists leaderboard. Additionally, four of Nagel and Wasielewski's setters rank among the top 10 on Duke's all-time assists chart. Since their first season at Duke in 1999, Nagel and Wasielewski have had a setter lead the ACC in assists four times.
DUKE CONTINUES ACC DOMINANCE
With an all-time ACC record of 273-123 (.289), Duke is the ACC's winningest program in both ACC victories and ACC winning percentage. Under head coach Jolene Nagel, Duke has won four ACC regular season championships, including last year's crown. Duke has finished no lower than third in the ACC every year since 2004 and this year finished tied for third. Duke has had just one losing record in the conference since 2000 (6-10 in 2003).
Duke's opponents hit just .196 this season, marking the XXXX consecutive year in which the Blue Devils have held an opponent under .200. Only five opponents hit over .300 this year, and 16 hit under .200. Duke has annually been one of the best defensive teams in the ACC, ranking among the top two in the ACC in opponent hitting percentage in five of the last seven seasons.
COACHING STAFF CHEMISTRY
Duke head coach Jolene Nagel and associate head coach John Wasielewski wrapped up their 13th season together at Duke. Nagel was hired prior to the 1999 season and soon after brought in Wasielewski. Those two have won three ACC Coach of the Year awards, three East Region Coach of the Year awards and have compiled a 13-year record of 289-127 at Duke. They have mentored three ACC Players of the Year, 16 All-ACC selections and 16 All-East Region honorees. Assistant coach Cristina Pintilie is also in her third year at Duke and has helped the program to a 75-21 record.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
The Duke volleyball team performs best on its home court in Cameron Indoor Stadium, and 2011 was no exception. The Blue Devils went 14-2 at home this season with their only losses at the hands of No. 19 San Diego and Miami. Since 2000, Duke boasts a 142-24 (.855) record at home with a 38-match win streak that ran from 2004-07. Five of Duke's last six home losses were to top-20 teams. Duke fell to No. 1 Penn State and No. 12 Florida State in 2009, No. 15 Minnesota in 2010 and to No. 19 San Diego this year.
DUKE AGAINST NON-CONFERENCE TEAMS
The Blue Devils went 6-3 in regular season non-conference matches this season with their only losses at the hands of No. 6 Stanford (3-1), No. 19 San Diego (3-1) and Saint Mary's (3-2). Duke is 107-47 (.695) against non-conference teams since 2000. Duke put together a streak of 23 consecutive wins against non-ranked, non-conference teams until St. Mary's ended that run with a 3-2 win in California this year. Duke is 37-4 against unranked, non-conference teams since 2008. Duke has not lost to an unranked, non-conference team at home since 2002.
SUCCESS IN FIVE-SET MATCHES
Duke went 5-1 in five-set matches this year with 3-2 victories over Wisconsin, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Virginia and No. 17 Florida State. Duke's only five-set loss of the year was to Saint Mary's on the road in Stanford, Calif.