RALEIGH, N.C. – Senior libero Jenny Shull picked up 25 digs to become Duke’s all-time digs leader and help the 13th-ranked Blue Devils to a 3-1 (30-23, 26-30, 30-25, 30-19) victory over N.C. State Thursday evening in Reynolds Coliseum.
Shull surpassed the 13-year old record of 1,818 digs, held by Blue Devil great Ashley Wacholder since 1994, and moved to third place on the all-time ACC list with 1,826 in her four-year career.
“We’re really excited to see these players leave their mark on this program,” head coach Jolene Nagel said. “They’re already done it in so many ways, but to have their names in the record book is tremendous. They’ve worked so hard and it’s great to be rewarded with something like this.
“Jenny is one of those players that’s so important to our team, but really gets overlooked. For her to have her name in the record books is just a great reward for everything she’s done for this team.”
For the second straight match, four Duke (11-3, 6-0 ACC) players reached double-digit kills with Jourdan Norman’s 16 leading the squad. Senior Carrie DeMange and sophomore Rachael Moss turned in 15 kills each while Sue Carls added 12. Norman also led all players with a .519 hitting percentage, marking the fifth consecutive match in which the junior middle blocker has posted a hitting percentage over .500. Since opening conference play, Norman leads all Blue Devils with a .514 hitting percentage, followed closely by Carls’ .426 clip.
Setter Ali Hausfeld tossed up 59 assists and added seven kills on 18 attacks. She was also in on four of Duke’s eight blocks, while Norman contributed five and DeMange and freshman Becci Burling added three each.
Both Norman and Carls continued their torrid pace in game one, as the junior duo teamed up for 12 kills on 18 errorless attacks for a combined .667 attack percentage to lead Duke to the 30-23 opening victory. Hausfeld recorded 21 assists while DeMange added five kills and Shull picked up nine digs en route to her record-breaking performance. Duke and N.C. State (3-13, 0-6 ACC) swapped points to 12-12 to open the frame, but Duke posted a 9-3 run to claim a 21-15 advantage. Ball handling and attack errors were the Wolfpack’s downfall in the opener, as N.C. State gave away eight points on offensive faults.
After Duke closed out game one with a .327 hitting percentage, the Wolfpack locked down the Blue Devil offense and limited Carls, DeMange and Rachael Moss to a team-high four kills apiece. With six total blocks, the defensive effort was enough to knock off Duke in game two, as N.C. State fought off a late rally to claim a 30-26 victory. The Wolfpack staked a 15-9 lead to open the game before Duke narrowed the deficit to two points at 19-17. N.C. State would rally with a 5-2 run, however, to reclaim a six-point lead. Duke chipped away at the deficit to come within one point at 27-26, but could not finish off the comeback effort as N.C. State held on for the 30-26 win. Chrissy Zirpolo contributed five kills and five digs for the Wolfpack while Ashley Wallace added four blocks.
Offensive efforts from Norman, Hausfeld, Moss and Carls sprung a 30-25 Blue Devil win in a hard-fought game three. The win was also keyed by an improved defensive effort from Duke, as N.C. State could manage just a .095 hitting percentage. Neither team could break the game open, however, as a 14-11 N.C. State lead was the largest advantage for the majority of game three. Duke quickly erased the three-point deficit with four consecutive points before the Wolfpack battled back to go ahead 20-18. Duke would tie the score once again and exchanged blows with N.C. State before staking a two-point lead at 24-22. Duke would clinch the game on a 6-3 run that featured two kills by Norman and one each from Hausfeld and Moss.
Duke’s offense got back on track in game four thanks in part to five kills from Moss and four each from DeMange and Burling. Burling was 4-of-5 attacking while Moss finished 5-of-9 with four digs to lead Duke to the 30-19 match-clinching victory. N.C. State came out strong once again, and led by as much as three points before Duke put together a 7-0 run to go ahead 14-10. N.C. State rallied to tie the match at 16-16, but a Wolfpack attacking error, one of 10 in game four, gave Duke the lead for remainder of the match. A 7-3 run put Duke ahead by five before another 7-0 run allowed the Blue Devils to clinch their 17th consecutive ACC win.
“N.C. State was a very scrappy team and they were very aggressive,” Nagel said. “We had some communication errors early in game two that we usually don’t have and made some hitting errors that we usually don’t commit. We did some really good things as well, but we kept making our job harder because of all the errors.
“After the break between games two and three, we really tried to focus on our goals. It was loud and they had a great crowd, so it was a difficult environment, but we just wanted to stay focused on our serving, getting more blocks and cutting down on our hitting errors. By game four, we were back on track as far as minimizing our errors and being aggressive. That’s just what we have to do to build our momentum and keep it going.”
Duke will continue its gauntlet of in-state rivalry matchups with a 2 p.m. meeting against North Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 7 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Blue Devils will then clash with Wake Forest on Tuesday, Oct. 9 before returning to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a contest with Georgia Tech on Oct. 12 and Clemson on Oct. 13.