RALEIGH, N.C. - In the first of four consecutive road matches to begin the ACC season, the Duke volleyball team struggled to build momentum, falling to NC State 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 25-18, 14-25) in front of 1,486 fans Friday evening at Reynolds Coliseum.
Sophomore outside hitter Jeme Obeime and junior libero Ali McCurdy led all players with 17 kills and 23 digs, respectively, for Duke (9-4, 0-1 ACC). Freshman outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell also reached double-digit kills, totaling 10, while senior middle blocker Christiana Gray added seven kills and six blocks.
The two teams were evenly matched on the stat sheet with NC State (13-1, 3-0 ACC) holding the advantage in hitting percentage .191 to .159, while both squads totaled nine team blocks. NCSU senior setter Megan Cyr hit .800 with eight kills, 36 assists and six digs to lead the Wolfpack. Sophomore outside hitter Nikki Glass knocked down 12 kills, followed closely by freshman middle blocker Morgan Cormier with 10.
"[NC State] had a great atmosphere tonight, but I'm disappointed in how we competed," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "We needed to execute better, both on our serve and on defense. We just made too many errors and that limited our ability to get any momentum going."
The match began with a 7-5 Blue Devil advantage, but the Wolfpack utilized a 9-2 run to take a 14-9 lead. NCSU maintained the five-point margin until Duke battled back late in the set following a Gray kill and NC State attack error. The Blue Devils were unable to knot the score at 24-all as Glass registered the kill after an NC State timeout to secure the 1-0 advantage for the Wolfpack.
The two teams battled back and forth in the second set with neither squad able to build more than a three-point margin. Tied 17-17, the Wolfpack edged ahead following a Duke attack error and Cormier kill. NC State bolstered its lead to 22-17 before Duke struck back, but the five-point deficit was too much to overcome in the end.
Trailing 2-0, Duke came out strong in the third game, holding the Wolfpack to .065 hitting. Up by six at the midway point, the Blue Devils captured the set 25-18 behind four kills each from Obeime and Campbell.
However, the Blue Devils were unable to transfer that momentum to the fourth set as NC State quickly grabbed a five-point lead en route to the victory.
Duke returns to action Sunday, September 21 traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a 2 p.m., bout with North Caroline in Carmichael Arena.