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Chelsea Cook
No. 23 Duke Hosts No. 18 Florida State, Miami
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/24/2013
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DURHAM, N.C. – Tied atop the ACC standings, the 23rd-ranked Duke volleyball team hosts two squads also in contention for the conference title this weekend in No. 18 Florida State and Miami.
The Blue Devils square off against the Seminoles Friday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m., before welcoming the Hurricanes Saturday, Oct. 26, also at 6:30 p.m. in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devil Network will stream both contests, while will also provide live stats Friday and Saturday.
Following a pair of key road victories at Georgia Tech and Clemson, the Blue Devils return home with a 16-3 overall record and 7-1 mark in ACC play. Duke is currently tied with No. 18 Florida State and No. 14 North Carolina for first place in the league standings, while Miami and NC State trail with matching 6-2 conference ledgers.
Senior libero Ali McCurdy added yet another distinction to her standout career, totaling 16 digs Friday at Georgia Tech to break the school career record, previously held by Jenny Shull (2,200). The two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year leads the Blue Devils with 282 digs on the season and ranks second nationally among active players with 2,227 career digs.
Three Blue Devils currently average over 3.00 digs per set, led by sophomore outside hitter Emily Sklar. Sklar registered back-to-back double-doubles this past weekend, amassing 26 kills, 28 digs and five service aces combined against Georgia Tech and Clemson. For the season, Sklar leads Duke with 232 kills, averaging 3.93 per set to rank second in the ACC.
Junior setter Maggie Deichmeister has also targeted outside Jeme Obeime and rightside Elizabeth Campbell, both of whom average over 3.00 kills per set. At 681 assists this season, Deichmeister has already topped her previous career high and currently ranks third in the ACC with a 10.98 assists per set average.
The 18th-ranked Seminoles (14-5, 7-1 ACC) bring a five-match winning streak into Friday’s contest against the Blue Devils. One of the top blocking teams in the ACC, the Florida State rosters features the 2012 ACC Player of the Year in senior middle blocker Ashley Neff, who leads the conference and ranks ninth nationally in block per set (1.47). In addition, reigning ACC Player of the Week Nicole Walch averages 3.60 kills per set, the seventh-highest clip in the conference, to pace the FSU attack.
Duke owns a 35-14 advantage in the all-time series against Florida State. However, the series has shifted to the Seminoles’ favor recently. Florida State has taken seven of the two teams’ past eight decisions, including both ends of a home-and-home series last season.
After beginning the conference slate with six consecutive victories, Miami (13-5, 6-2 ACC) dropped both of its matches this past week, falling by identical 3-1 scores at Florida State and Notre Dame.
The Hurricanes are led by junior Savanah Leaf at 3.86 kills per set, good for fourth in the ACC. Senior Alex Johnson and junior Alexis Mourning are two other key hitters for Miami, ranking second and third on the squad with 194 and 153 kills, respectively.
Duke is 10-7 in program history when facing Miami. The Hurricanes have had the upper hand as of late, winning four straight versus the Blue Devils.
Duke begins November with a pair of home matches over the first weekend of the month. The Blue Devils play host to Syracuse Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m., before taking on Boston College Nov. 2, also at 6:30 p.m.