DURHAM, N.C. - In a match that saw three sets decided by two points, the Duke volleyball team came up just short, falling to ACC foe Wake Forest 3-1 (23-25, 24-26, 26-24, 20-25) Tuesday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Senior Christiana Gray led the Blue Devils (11-10, 2-7 ACC) with a season-high 18 kills, surpassing her previous season high of 16 set last week against Clemson. Junior Chelsea Cook and sophomore Jeme Obeime also reached double-digit kill totals, knocking down 11 and 10, respectively. Wake Forest's (8-13, 2-7 ACC) Andrea Beck also amassed 18 kills and Kylie Hargreaves totaled 16 to lead the Demon Deacons.
Junior Ali McCurdy just missed her fourth 30-dig performance of the year, picking up 29 for the match. McCurdy has registered 20-plus digs in 13 matches this season, including three straight with 25-or-more digs.
Duke won 11 of the first 17 points to build a five-point lead before a 4-1 Wake Forest spurt narrowed the margin. A kill from Elizabeth Campbell, who finished the match with eight kills to go along with four blocks, put Duke up 23-20 late. The Blue Devils were unable to close out the set as Wake Forest scored the final five points of the frame for 25-23 win and 1-0 lead overall.
The two teams battled back and forth in the tightly contest second set which featured 10 ties. Duke overcame an early five-point disadvantage to tie the score at 18-18, then took a two-point lead following an ace from Cook and Demon Deacon attack error. However, a pair of Blue Devil errors swung the momentum in Wake Forest's favor, forcing Duke to rally to tie the score at 21-21 and again at 24-24. The Blue Devils were unable to overtake the Demon Deacons in the end as Wake Forest clinched the set and a 2-0 lead with a Rusk kill and Duke attack error.
Duke fell behind 17-11 in the third set before rallying to tie the game at 19-all. Wake Forest edged ahead 22-21 and 23-22, but the Blue Devils had the answer, tying the score first with a block by Campbell and fellow freshman Emily Sklar then again with a Sklar kill. The Demon Deacons knotted the score at 24-24 before back-to-back kills from Sklar and Gray, who totaled five in the stanza, sealed the Duke victory.
Down by two midway through set four, Duke called timeout but was unable to cut into the deficit. Trailing 20-17, Sklar recorded her eighth kill of the night to cut Wake Forest's lead to 20-18, but Duke would not come any closer as the Demon Deacons received two aces from Beck to close out the match on a 5-2 run.
The two teams were evenly matched in the stat columns with Wake Forest narrowly edging Duke 63-59 in kills and 58-57 in assists, while the Blue Devil led in digs 88-79. Both squads committed 25 attack errors as the Demon Deacons hit .202 compared to .197 for the Blue Devils.
After five-straight matches at Cameron, Duke will hit the road this weekend for a pair of conference matches. The Blue Devils take on Virginia Friday, October 19 at 7 p.m., then face Virginia Tech Saturday, October 20 at 6 p.m.