DURHAM, N.C. Ė The No. 18 Duke volleyball team opened up the 2007 season with a 3-0 (30-20, 30-20, 30-22) victory over East Carolina on Friday evening, the first day of the Duke Invitational in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke (1-0) averaged a .281 hitting percentage during the three-game contest with three Blue Devils averaging .400 or better, including seniors Carrie DeMange and Ali Hausfeld and junior Jourdan Norman. Duke outpaced East Carolina (0-1) with eight blocks and held the Pirates to a .108 hitting percentage, including a .049 mark in the final game.
DeMange had a match-high 16 kills while Norman collected 10 and Hausfeld contributed five. Both DeMange and Hausfeld turned in .400 hitting percentages while Norman’s .533 clip led all players during the first day of the tournament. Hausfeld also recorded a double-double with 42 assists and 10 digs and led the Blue Devils with five block assists. Offensively, over 40 percent of what Hausfeld, the 2006 ACC Player of the Year, threw up went down for a kill.
Senior libero Jenny Shull locked down the defense for the Blue Devils after digging out 24 opposing attacks. Shull also added one of Duke’s seven aces on the night, with the others coming from Hausfeld (2), senior Shelley Capito (1) and sophomore and 2006 ACC and East Region Freshman of the Year Rachael Moss. Moss was a defensive commodity in the outing, collecting 14 digs while also posting six kills. Junior Sue Carls was among Duke’s offensive leaders as well with eight kills and a .263 hitting percentage while also assisting on three of Duke’s blocks.
Two freshmen made their Blue Devil debut against the Pirates. Middle blocker Becci Burling earned her first collegiate kill, and went on to get three more for a total of four on the night. Outside hitter and defensive specialist Claire Smalzer also saw her first collegiate games and contributed two digs and 12 errorless serves.
The Blue Devils came out swinging in game one and posted 19 kills on the way to a .356 hitting percentage, the highest mark among any team on the tournament’s first day. After battling the Pirates to an 8-7 advantage to open game one, Duke pulled away with a 13-5 scoring run before putting East Carolina to rest with a 4-1 run to conclude the game.
Game two saw another offensive assault by Duke, as DeMange followed her eight-kill outing in game one with seven more in the second meeting. DeMange had a .778 clip in game two after coming up short in only two of her nine attacks. With Hausfeld serving up to the hard-hitting DeMange and Carls, the Blue Devils jumped out to an 11-4 lead that turned into a 10-point advantage before the game’s conclusion. After going up 23-18, Duke went on a 7-2 run to end the game, thanks in part to three more kills from DeMange and two from redshirt-freshman Juliana Traut.
East Carolina would not go easily, however, and threatened to take game three before Duke put the Pirates away with another late run to break away from a tight battle. After Duke jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead, East Carolina regrouped did not fall behind by more than two points until Duke went up 18-15 late in the game. Even then, the Pirates battled back to a 23-20 deficit before Duke outscored them 7-2 to claim their first victory of the season.
“It was fun to get out there tonight and see this 2007 team compete against someone other than ourselves,” head coach Jolene Nagel said. “I was excited to see the team working and having fun. We look forward to developing the team to be the best we can be, and we had an opportunity to move in that direction after seeing a few different things tonight.”
The Blue Devils will lead off Saturday’s matches at the Duke Invitational with a 10 a.m. contest against Winthrop in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils will then take the court in the final match of the evening, a 7:30 p.m. affair against No. 13 Purdue.