CLEMSON, S.C. – Danielle Hepburn knocked down 24 kills and seven blocks to lead Clemson to a 3-1 (26-30, 30-22, 30-28, 30-20) victory over 14th-ranked Duke Friday evening in Jervey Gym.
Hepburn contributed a .522 hitting percentage after connecting on over half of her 46 attacks without committing an error. Hepburn led four Tigers in double figures, as Meghan Steiner turned in 16 kills, while Jeannette Abbott and Leslie Mansfield added 13 each.
Sophomore Rachael Moss paced Duke (20-6, 15-3 ACC) with 20 kills, while senior Carrie DeMange continued her record-setting pace with 19 kills and 10 digs for a double-double. With 19 kills against Clemson (24-3, 17-1 ACC) and 20 the previous night against Georgia Tech, DeMange is now within 50 kills of setting Duke’s all-time record.
Senior setter Ali Hausfeld joined Moss and DeMange with a double-double after collecting 62 assists and 10 digs. Junior Jourdan Norman also turned in 11 kills on 25 attacks for a .400 hitting percentage, while Sue Carls also turned in nine kills and three blocks. Hausfeld and freshmen Becci Burling and Claire Smalzer added four kills each, while senior libero Jenny Shull picked up 25 digs.
Seven Blue Devils contributed kills in the opening frame, with Moss leading the pack with six on the way to a 30-26 game one victory. Duke totaled 20 kills in the opener, along with a .311 hitting percentage, to overcome a 17-kill, five-block effort by the Tigers. Duke broke open an early 2-2 tie with a 5-1 run to go ahead by four and maintained a steady lead until Clemson battled back to within one at 19-18. Consecutive attacking errors by the Tigers gave Duke a three-point cushion, however, which the Blue Devils rode to the opening victory following consecutive kills by Carls and a pair of match-clinching scores from Moss and Norman.
Both Moss and DeMange reached double figures by the end of game two with 10 kills apiece, but Hepburn and Steiner matched the duo’s output with a combined 21 kills over the same span. The majority of Hepburn and Steiner’s production came in game two, as duo teamed up for 12 kills to lead Clemson to a 30-22 game two victory. DeMange contributed six kills for Duke, while Hausfeld connected on 16 of her 38 set attempts, but an opening run by the Tigers that resulted in an early six-point lead was the difference. After Clemson broke open a 5-5 tie with a 9-3 run, Duke struggled to regain ground until a mid-game rally put the Blue Devils within one point at 17-16. The Tigers would open a 7-2 run to go ahead 24-18, however, before overcoming late heroics by DeMange, Moss and Norman to clinch the win.
Hepburn and Leslie Mansfield came through for Clemson in game three, knocking down five kills each en route to a narrow 30-28 win. The Tiger duo outpaced the collective efforts of DeMange, Norman and Moss, who connected on 15 of Duke’s 19 kills. After overcoming an early Clemson lead, Duke knotted the score at 15-15, only to fall behind following a 6-3 run that put the Tigers ahead 22-28. Duke fought back to tie the score at 22-22 and once again at 27-27. A Blue Devil service error gave Clemson a one-point advantage, however, which the Tigers used to pick up match point after kills from Hepburn and Mansfield.
Clemson recorded a .390 hitting percentage in game four on 18 kills and just two errors to claim the match-clinching 30-20 victory. Moss hammered six kills on nine attacks for a .444 hitting percentage, but it was not enough to overcome the flawless effort of Hepburn, who finished 9-of-16 attacking in the final frame. Duke hung with Clemson early, but the Tigers stormed out to an eight-point lead late in the match, which the Blue Devils could not overcome. Moss sparked a late rally with four straight kills for Duke, but Hepburn and Mansfield quelled the late comeback with a pair of momentum-stopping kills.
“We did a lot of really good things out there tonight,” head coach Jolene Nagel said. “I was very proud of how we battled against an excellent Clemson team. We certainly didn’t play poorly. Clemson is just playing that well. We just have to get back in the gym this week and get better in preparation for the last stretch of the season.”
Duke will return to Cameron Indoor Stadium this Friday, Nov. 16 to take on rival North Carolina at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils will follow with another home contest against in-state rival, N.C. State on Saturday, Nov. 17. The twinbill will mark the final home matches of the season for the Blue Devils, who will conclude their regular season schedule with a road trip to Virginia to face Virginia Tech and Virginia.