DURHAM, N.C. - Sophomore outside hitter Jeme Obeime led all players with 11 kills on a match-high .526 hitting as the Duke volleyball team swept Elon 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-23) Saturday evening at the Duke Classic in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Obeime recorded just one error on 19 attacks, helping Duke (6-1, 0-0 ACC) pick up its fifth sweep of the season. Rookie Elizabeth Campbell, who also chipped in with five blocks, combined with classmate Emily Sklar to knock down 15 kills in the match.
"Jeme [Obeime] has been playing really well, and she has been able to be consistent the last few matches," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "One error as an outside hitter, that is really good. She had 19 swings and 11 kills. She is doing a good job of utilizing her opportunities once she gets the pass."
Duke's defense turned in a solid performance, totaling 10 team blocks and limiting the Phoenix to just .096 hitting. Junior libero Ali McCurdy totaled 20 digs, marking her third straight match with 20 or more digs. Senior middle blocker Christiana Gray amassed a match-high six blocks and was also one of Duke's top threats on offense with seven kills on .500 hitting.
"We have definitely made it a priority to work on our blocking" added Nagel. "It is also exciting that we were able to dig some balls in order to make the defensive part of our game work. Christiana [Gray] blocked a lot of balls tonight; she has the timing for that. She hit .500 and had only one error, so we will continue to try and get her the ball on offense."
The Blue Devils bolted to a 10-4 lead to begin the first set, forcing an Elon timeout. The Phoenix cut the advantage to four, but two Elon errors and a kill from Obeime pushed the lead to seven, instigating a second Phoenix timeout. The Blue Devils extended their lead to 10 and wrapped up the first set with two kills from junior middle blocker Chelsea Cook to take a 1-0 lead.
The Duke offense was firing on all cylinders in the first set, hitting .500 while committing just two errors on 28 attacks. Campbell, Cook and Gray led the way with three kills each and the Blue Devil defense dominated Elon, holding the Phoenix to .000 hitting.
Down 10-7 to start the second set, Duke clawed its way back to tie the score at 15-all following a block by Campbell and Cook. The two teams were deadlocked again at 18-18 before Duke captured six of the next seven points. An Elon service error would conclude the set, giving Duke a 2-0 advantage.
The Blue Devils got off to a slow start in the third set and trailed by as many as five in the early going. Back-to-back kills from Cook and Obeime pulled the Blue Devils intiated a 6-0 Blue Devil run as Duke took an 18-15 lead. Elon would come back to tie the score at 19-19, but Obeime responded with a kill and an ace to give Duke a two-point margin. Obeime, who totaled six kills in the third set alone, knocked down the final kill of the match to secure the sweep for the Blue Devils.
"We are really excited to get a 'W' tonight on our home court," said Nagel. "We had great support from the fans. The whole night, Elon did a great job of not allowing us to get our momentum going. I thought our team started out pretty strong, but we did miss some serves at crucial times."
Elon was led by freshman outside hitter Megan Gravely with nine kills, followed by sophomore middle blocker Kris Harris with seven.
The Blue Devils kick off day two of the Duke Classic at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, taking on East Carolina. Duke wraps up the tournament that evening as the Blue Devils meet Northeastern at 7 p.m.