BLACKSBURG, Va. – Senior Ali Hausfeld served up 49 assists to break Duke’s single-season assist record, while classmate Carrie DeMange hammered 18 kills to set the school's single-season kills record while leading the 24th-ranked Blue Devil volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-23, 30-23, 30-28) win over Virginia Tech in their season finale Friday afternoon.
With 1,594 assists in 2007, Hausfeld, a 6-0 senior setter and a three-time AVCA All-America Honorable Mention selection, broke her previous record of 1,590 set during her sophomore campaign in 2005. Already Duke’s all-time assists leader, Hausfeld now holds the first, second and fourth-best single-season assist marks in school history. The 2006 ACC Player of the Year currently ranks among the top-three in the nation in assists per game and recently became only the fifth player in the history of the ACC to top 6,000 career assists.
DeMange was on the receiving end of Hausfeld’s assists and led all players with 18 kills, including her 568th of the season, topping the previous school record of 564 set by Ashley Wacholder in 1991. A two-time AVCA All-America Honorable Mention selection and Duke's all-time kills leader, DeMange is hitting .398 over Duke’s last three matches with 59 kills during that span.
Junior Sue Carls posted a .391 hitting percentage against the Hokies on 11 kills and 23 attacks. Carls shined early with five kills in game one, while DeMange came on strong with seven kills in game two and eight more in the final frame. Blue Devil junior middle blocker Jourdan Norman finished with a .600 clip on 7-of-10 attacking and helped out of two of Duke’s four blocks. Classmate Aana Wherry also turned in eight kills on 16 attacks and a pair of blocks, including one solo stop. Senior libero Jenny Shull led all players with 23 digs and 32 errorless service receptions. Shull has excelled as Duke’s primary serve receiver this season and has not committed a reception error since Nov. 9 against Clemson.
Virginia Tech (14-18, 8-14 ACC) managed nine blocks against the Blue Devils, but was undone by a .127 hitting percentage, including a -.053 clip in the opening frame. Duke managed to hold all Hokies to single digits, as Jen Albrecht led the way with seven kills. Felicia Willoughby connected for just five kills but turned in a match-high six blocks, including two solo putbacks.
The Blue Devils received a combined seven kills from Carls and DeMange in the opener and equal contributions from Hausfeld, Norman, Wherry and Rachael Moss on the way to a 30-23 opening victory. Virginia Tech was in control early after staking a 5-2 lead, but faltered with three straight errors to allow a 5-5 tie. After swapping points to a 10-10 deadlock, the Blue Devils opened a 10-1 rally to jump ahead 20-11. Virginia Tech prevented the lead to reaching double figures, but failed to come within less than six before Wherry and Carls put the match away with consecutive kills.
Duke posted a collective hitting percentage of .310 on the way to a 30-23 win in game two thanks to a seven-kill outing from DeMange and a 4-of-5 performance from Norman. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils forced nine Virginia Tech attack errors in limiting the Hokies to a .100 clip. Duke led for the entire match and built a six-point cushion following a 7-3 run that ran the score to 17-11. With a sizeable lead, Duke was able to comfortably trade points with Virginia Tech until finishing off the Hokies for the win.
Virginia Tech improved to a .292 hitting percentage in game two, but could not stop the DeMange-led Blue Devils, who teamed up for a .321 clip in the 30-28 win. DeMange connected on eight of her 16 attacks, while Carls hammered five her eleven attempts and Wherry finished a perfect 4-for-4. After trading leads early in the game, Duke broke out with a 6-0 run, but the Hokies responded with a 10-4 rally of their own to come within one point at 23-22. The Blue Devils rebuilt a three-point advantage to reach match point at 29-26, only to surrender back-to-back points to Virginia Tech to allow the Hokies to come within a single score at 29-28. Freshman Becci Burling would silence the comeback with a timely kill to seal the 30-28 win and Duke’s 24th of the season.
With the win, Duke concludes the regular season and secures a second-place spot in the final ACC standings behind Clemson (28-3, 21-1). The Blue Devils will find out their NCAA postseason fate this Sunday, Nov. 25, on the NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament selection show, which will air on ESPNU at 8 p.m.