DURHAM, N.C. – Led by outside hitters Jeme Obeime and Emily Sklar, the 23rd-ranked Duke volleyball team posted a season-high .402 hitting percentage en route to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-20) victory over visiting Miami Saturday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The tandem of Obeime and Sklar combined for 33 kills and just six attack errors as the duo hit .472 to pace a potent Duke attack. Sklar tied her career-high with 20 kills, registering a season-best .429 hitting percentage, while Obeime put down 13 kills on 22 attack attempts with just one error.
Overall, Duke (18-3, 9-1 ACC) amassed 54 kills, averaging 18 per set, compared to 31 for the Hurricanes. The Blue Devils also outdug Miami (13-7, 6-4 ACC), 49-30, and totaled five service aces to two for the Hurricanes.
“[We’re] excited to get this one,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “Miami has some tremendous athletes and they’ve played really well against us over the past few years. Emily [Sklar] and Jeme [Obeime] have been doing a great job for us all year. We’ve made some improvements in other areas, and I think that’s actually taken the pressure off our outsides and allowed them to be more successful.”
Twenty-four hours after defeating No. 18 Florida State, Duke did not relax against Miami, storming out to an 11-6 advantage in set one. The Blue Devils’ offense was firing on all cylinders in the opening frame as Duke hit .577 in the 25-14 set victory. Sklar, who extended her streak to 13 consecutive matches with double-digit kills, was one of four Blue Devils with three or more kills in the frame, leading the way with five.
“To be at home and have the first set go like that, it gave our team confidence,” Nagel added. “What I liked is that our team didn’t relax and stop playing defense or stop blocking. We did a good job of maintaining that intensity throughout the match.”
Miami again struggled to contain Duke’s offense in the second set. The Blue Devils racked up 19 kills and limited the Hurricanes to nine during the stanza. After establishing an early seven-point advantage, Duke maintained its lead the rest of the way and captured the set, 25-18.
A kill from Miami’s Savanah Leaf cut Duke’s lead to 19-17 in the third game before the Blue Devils used a timeout to regroup. Duke closed out the match on a 6-3 run, icing the victory with three-straight kills from Sklar.
Junior setter Maggie Deichmeister tossed up 45 assists while also targeting middle blockers Chelsea Cook and Jordan Tucker. Cook had a solid all-around night with seven kills, five blocks, three service aces and three digs. Tucker also got in on the action, hitting a team-best .857 with six kills and no attack errors.
Defensively, senior Ali McCurdy and freshman Sasha Karelov anchored the Duke back line. McCurdy, Duke’s career digs leader, picked up a match-high 15 digs and Karelov added 10 to help the Blue Devil cause.
Leaf led all Miami players with nine kills on the night, while libero Ryan Shaffer added a team-high 11 digs.
Next up, Duke plays host to Syracuse Friday, Nov. 1 and Boston College Saturday, Nov. 2 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.