DURHAM, N.C. - Freshman Elizabeth Campbell turned in the top performance of her young career, helping the Blue Devils erase a 2-0 deficit, but the Duke volleyball team came up just short in its bid to upset league-leader Miami as the Hurricanes hung on for the 3-2 (12-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 16-14) victory Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Campbell finished the night with a career and match-high 25 kills while also adding 10 digs, four blocks and three aces in her fourth career double-double. Tonight marked Campbell's fifth straight match with double-digit kills and third double-double in the past four matches. The rookie form Parker, Colo., hit .333, committing just six errors on 57 attempts. She totaled six kills apiece in the second, third and fourth sets while adding five in the fifth, and amassed 11 consecutive kills without an error beginning midway through the fourth set.
"Elizabeth was really solid for us tonight as she has been for most of the season," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "That is exciting to see her have those kinds of numbers because she has worked very hard. She is a smart player and that all came together tonight. She is very competitive. You can see it in her face. You can see it in her demeanor; she really wanted this match tonight. She was going to do everything in her power to get it done. That's how she plays."
Sophomore Kelsey Williams totaled 44 assists and a career-high 21 digs for her sixth double-double of the season and junior Ali McCurdy led all players with 27 digs. McCurdy has picked up 20 or more digs in 16 of Duke's 29 matches this season and is just 32 digs shy of breaking her own school single-season record (653) set in 2011.
The Hurricanes entered the weekend as the ACC leader in blocks per set, and Miami lived up to the billing with 16 blocks against the Blue Devils. Duke posted 13 blocks of its own, led by senior Christiana Gray and junior Chelsea Cook with seven and six, respectively. Miami knocked down 70 kills to 58 for the Duke, while the Blue Devils held a slight edge in digs, 97-95.
Miami's offense came out strong to start the match as the Hurricanes hit .301 over the first two sets. Duke utilized its defense and tough service game to claw back into the contest, limiting Miami to .121 hitting the rest of the way.
"We have been a work in progress along the way," added Nagel. "Tonight, our team showed some of that progress. We were down 2-0 against a really good team, so to find that something inside of us to keep fighting is a huge statement. They continue to work hard every day in practice. They continue to challenge each other and yet support each other at the same time, which is a difficult thing to do. It would be really easy to be discouraged or to maybe not give as great of effort time in and time out because we haven't had as many W's as we would like to see. I think tonight was a great example of how this team has worked and I am proud of them for that."
Facing a 2-0 deficit, Duke opened set three with a 14-6 lead, but the Blue Devils saw their advantage disappear late. Miami rallied to tie the set at 22-22 and again at 23-23 before sophomore Jeme Obeime knocked down her fifth kill of the set, and a subsequent Hurricane attack error sealed the 25-23 Blue Devil victory.
The fourth set belonged to the Blue Devils as Duke held the Hurricanes to a match-low .022 hitting percentage in the frame. Duke's blocking unit was on point, stopping seven Miami attacks in the set. Up 17-12 following a Campbell ace, the Blue Devils maintained the lead and iced the set with a Campbell kill.
The two teams traded points to open the fifth and final frame before Miami edged ahead 11-8. Undeterred, Duke rallied with three consecutive points, including two kills by Campbell. The Blue Devils appeared to have the match in hand after a Gray solo block put Duke up 14-12, but Miami scored the final four points of the match, bolstered by three kills from Hollins, to escape with the win.
The Blue Devils close out the 2012 campaign on the road, traveling to Georgia Tech and Clemson November 15 and 16. Duke then heads to Wake Forest November 20 for its final regular season match of the year.