DURHAM, N.C. – The 23rd-ranked Duke volleyball team earned its third victory over a top 25 opponent this season, outlasting No. 18 Florida State 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 9-15) in front of 2,331 fans Friday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Tied at 2-2, the Blue Devil defense, sparked by eight digs from senior libero Ali McCurdy, buckled down in the final frame. Duke (17-3, 8-1 ACC) picked up 16 digs to 10 for FSU and limited the Seminoles to a .043 hitting percentage in the fifth stanza to secure the five-set victory.
“Florida State is a very physical team, and we knew we needed to come out and play hard,” said McCurdy. “Throughout all the sets, we had to make different adjustments and we just stuck together. Just a great five-set win at home.”
McCurdy, Duke’s career leader with 2,253 digs, was once again outstanding on the Duke back line, totaling a season-high 26 digs on the night. The Blue Devil defense tied a season-high with 14.0 blocks and held Florida State (14-6, 7-2 ACC) to a .194 hitting percentage overall.
Sophomore Elizabeth Campbell led a contingent of four Blue Devils in double-digit kills as the 6-2 rightside hitter amassed 16 kills, seven digs and four blocks. Classmate Emily Sklar put down 15 kills to go along with eight digs and three blocks, extending her streak to 12 consecutive matches with at least 10 kills.
Junior outside Jeme Obeime added 13 kills of her own, and freshman Jordan Tucker turned in one of the best performances of her young career, totaling a season-high 12 kills to compliment a team-high six blocks. Junior setter Maggie Deichmeister tallied 56 assists, reaching the 50-assist plateau for the fourth time this season.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way we hung in there tonight and just fought for each point,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “Both teams played very hard. Both teams were deserving of getting that win. The fact that we hung in there and kept plugging away, [I’m] really proud of them for that.”
The two teams traded blows in the opening game, arriving at a 17-17 stalemate just over the midway point. Keyed by two kills from Tucker, Duke rattled off four straight points to take a 21-17 lead. Back-to-back Sklar kills ultimately sealed the set for Duke, 25-20.
Florida State scored the first five points of the second set, but Duke was able to chip away at the lead. Deadlocked at 15-all, the Seminoles built a three-point cushion en route to a 25-22 win.
It was Duke’s turn to build an early lead in set three as the Blue Devils went up 10-4 to start the stanza. FSU cut the lead to three late, but Duke held on for the 25-22 win behind six Obeime kills.
FSU senior Olivera Medic notched eight kills to power the Seminoles to a 25-23 fourth set victory, tying the match 2-2. The two teams were even at 23-23 before Medic clinched the set with back-to-back kills.
After hitting .469 in the fourth game, Florida State appeared to be on a roll heading to the last set. Duke’s defense had the answer, turning several long rallies into points. The Blue Devils led 8-3 at the midway point and closed out the night with Campbell’s 16th kill.
“We knew they were playing very scrappy,” added McCurdy. “Little things were dropping. We knew we needed to pick up our communication, and that was really key for us. After set two, we wanted to eliminate errors and keep it our game and keep being the aggressor. We came out and did that.”
Three Seminoles – Sarah Burrington, Hailey Luke and Medic – had double-doubles to lead Florida State. Burrington contributed 13 kills and 10 blocks, while Medic added a season-high 14 kills and 13 digs. Freshman setter Luke rounded out the group with 17 assists and 10 digs.
Friday’s match marked the first time Duke had played to five sets this season. Duke is now 35-14 against Florida State in program history after the two teams met as AVCA top 25 opponents for the first time tonight.
Duke has a short break before returning to action tomorrow night to face Miami. The match is set for a 6:30 p.m. start from Cameron Indoor Stadium.