DURAHM, N.C. Ė Carrie DeMange connected on 28 kills and recorded her 10th straight double-double as 13th-ranked Duke overcame a 2-0 deficit on the way to a 3-2 (28-30, 21-33, 30-25, 30-22, 15-12) victory over Georgia Tech Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
DeMange finished the evening with a .271 hitting percentage, 12 digs, four blocks and two aces for her team-leading 12th double-double of the season. The senior middle blocker hammered 11 of her kills in the first game and contributed five more in games two through four.
DeMange was one of four Blue Devils to reach double figures, as sophomore Rachael Moss knocked 21 kills, junior Jourdan Norman added 14 and Sue Carls finished with 13. Norman’s 14 kills came on 27 errorless attacks for a match-high .519 hitting percentage, marking the eighth time this season that the junior middle blocker has topped the .500 mark.
For the third consecutive match and seventh time this season, Duke reached double figures in blocks with 10 against Georgia Tech. Norman led the Blue Devils with five, including one solo stop, while DeMange was in on four and senior setter Ali Hausfeld contributed three. Hausfeld also served up 76 assists, while senior libero Jenny Shull picked up a match-high 34 digs and committed only two receiving errors in 37 attempts.
Chrissy DeMichelis and Ulrike Stegemann paced Georgia Tech with 17 kills apiece, while Talisa Kellogg added 13 and Callie Miller finished with 11. Setter Allie Niekamp tossed up 56 assists, while Miller added a match-high seven blocks.
Duke (14-3, 9-0 ACC) dropped the first two games by just two points, as Georgia Tech (10-7, 4-3 ACC) held on for a 30-28 win in game one and a 33-31 victory in game two. Neither team could gain separation in the opener, as a four-point advantage was the largest lead of the opening frame. Duke held a slim lead until the Yellow Jackets knotted the score at 21-21 and pulled ahead 24-23. The Blue Devils battled back to a 26-26 tie, but Kaminskas broke the deadlock with a kill to give Georgia Tech the lead for the remainder of the match Duke pulled in within one at 28-29 on a kill by DeMange, her 11th of the game, but a kill from Chrissy DeMichelis ended the threat.
Duke jumped ahead early in game two, only to see Georgia Tech overcome the deficit once again to force a 21-21 tie. The Yellow Jackets trailed by four points at 21-17, but mounted an 8-1 run to claim a 25-22 lead that they would not surrender until Duke knotted the score at 28-28. Kaminskas came through once again with another kill to break the tie, but handed Duke the game-tying point on a service error that brought the score to 29-29. Georgia Tech’s Callie Miller would make up for the error though, with her fourth and fifth kills of game two to keep Duke in check and seal a 2-0 match lead.
With their four-year, 37-match home winning streak in jeopardy, Duke bounced back with a commanding 30-25 game three victory on the strength of Moss and DeMange, who combined for 11 kills and a .429 hitting percentage. Duke also managed to keep Georgia Tech’s offense in check and limited the Yellow Jackets to their second-lowest hitting percentage of the evening at .122. Shull was a major player in the defensive showing with 10 digs and six errorless service receptions, while Moss also contributed with 14 errorless receptions. Duke battled back from a 17-10 deficit after scoring 11 straight points, four of which came on kills by Moss, including three consecutive scores. With a four-point lead in hand, Duke cruised to the 30-25 victory and sealed the win by claiming the last thee points on kills by DeMange and Claire Smalzer and an ace from Aana Wherry.
Duke did not commit a single attack error in game four and turned in a .535 hitting percentage en route to a 30-22 match-tying victory. Moss collected eight kills on 15 attacks, while Norman connected on six of her 10 attempts and DeMange added five on eight attacks. After battling to a 5-5 tie, the Blue Devils began a 6-1 run that eventually led to an eight-point advantage at 20-12. Duke maintained the commanding lead and trailed by no less than seven for the remainder of game four.
The teams came to a 7-7 deadlock early in game five, but the Blue Devils gained momentum with a 5-0 run for a 12-7 advantage before surrendering another point to Georgia Tech. Facing match point, however, the Yellow Jackets mounted three consecutive scores to come within two points, but it was not enough to hold off the Blue Devils, who sealed the victory after an attack error by Georgia Tech.
“After game two, we went to the locker room and talked about the fact that no one was going to give us anything, and if anything was going to happen, we were going to have to make it happen for ourselves,” head coach Jolene Nagel said. “They responded, and I was so proud of the way they handled themselves on the court and how they kept plugging away, finding a way to be successful. This win was huge for us and it made us stronger, knowing that we can be in such a difficult situation and bounce back and win.
“The difference between this team and others is that they are all so mature and really feel confident in their abilities. They have so much character and mental toughness, and I think we all really grew tonight through what we went through as a team. They have confidence in themselves and each other, and they do all the right things to win.”
Duke will return to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 13 for a 6 p.m. bout against Clemson, the only other remaining team in the ACC without an in-conference loss.