DURHAM, N.C. - Despite keeping a potent Seminole offense in check, the Duke University volleyball fell 3-0 (16-25, 24-26, 22-25) to No. 13 Florida State Thursday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke's defense turned in a solid performance, holding Florida State to .193 hitting for the night. Prior to tonight's match, the Seminoles led the ACC and ranked 10th nationally in hitting percentage at .287. Both teams recorded 10 blocks while Florida State held a slight edge in kills (42-36) and digs (56-54), unforced errors came back to haunt the Blue Devils in the end.
"We are a different team from when we played them seven weeks ago," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "We are constantly developing, but we are still not as consistent as I would like. It primarily shows in our service game and sometimes with our serving, too. We need to work on our consistency. I think it's maturity. It's coming with time, but it's a painful process as we go through it right now. I am definitely happy with the way this team keeps getting in the gym every day and working hard."
Freshman Elizabeth Campbell continued her strong play, leading Duke with 11 kills along with eight digs, two blocks and an ace. Rookie Emily Sklar tallied seven kills, seven digs and two blocks while senior Christiana Gray added six kills and five blocks.
Only one FSU player reached double-digit kills in junior Ashley Neff. Neff, who is one of only two players in the country to rank in the top 10 nationally in both blocks per set and hitting percentage, finished the match with 10 kills on .381 hitting and led all players with seven blocks.
"Their middles are really good," said Campbell. "They are really active working around to the right side as well, and they are good at closing their blocks. We were just making a lot of errors and we weren't passing that well in the first set. But we picked it up after that and our passing definitely got better. Our serving got tougher, so we kept putting them out of system."
A slow start to set one gave Florida State the opportunity it needed to stake a 1-0 advantage. FSU began the match with a 10-4 spurt, aided by Duke miscues. The Blue Devils were unable to cut into the deficit and the Seminoles won the set, 25-16.
The second set began much like the first with Florida State taking a 6-1 lead. This time Duke respond and rallied to tie the game at 14-14. The two teams proceeded to trade points until Duke eked ahead, 24-23, following a block by Campbell and Chelsea Cook, one of five on the night for Cook. The Seminoles tied things up at 24-24 and retook the lead on a Blue Devil attack error. A block from Neff and Fatma Yildirim sealed the 26-24 victory, giving FSU a 2-0 lead.
Duke fell behind 6-1 in set three before an 8-0 Blue Devil run forced a Seminole timeout. Sklar recorded two of her four third-set kills during the rally, which freshman Laura Williams capped with her second ace of the match. Florida State chipped away at the Duke advantage, tying the score 22-all on a Duygu Duzceler ace. Duzveler added a second ace to give FSU the lead and the Seminoles iced the match with a kill by Marija Milosavljevic and a solo block by Neff.
"I think our errors made the difference," added Nagel. "We have to limit our errors. If we can do that, we will put ourselves in a position to win those close sets. Until we can get rid of those, it is going to be difficult to dig ourselves out of that every time."
Duke wraps up the home portion of its schedule Saturday, playing host to Miami at 7 p.m., in Cameron Indoor Stadium.