CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Duke volleyball team utilized a season-high 14.0 blocks to extend its winning streak to 10 matches, handing No. 10 North Carolina its first loss of the 2013 campaign, 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19) Friday evening at Carmichael Arena. Freshman Jordan Tucker and sophomore Elizabeth Campbell led all players with seven blocks each, senior Chelsea Cook added six and junior Jeme Obeime chipped in with five stops.
North Carolina (15-1, 4-1 ACC), previously one of just three remaining undefeated teams in Division I, led the ACC in blocks per game, but Duke (14-2, 5-0 ACC) limited the Tar Heels to 5.5 for the match and just 1.0 block after the opening frame. The Blue Devils held a potent UNC offense to a .093 hitting percentage as North Carolina had 28 attack errors to 14 for Duke.
Sophomore Emily Sklar amassed a match-high 11 kills to pace the Blue Devils’ offense as the San Jose, Calif., native reached double-digit kills for the eight-straight match. Classmate Campbell had a strong night, adding nine kills, 11 digs and a service ace to her block total. In addition, Obeime knocked down 10 kills for her 10th match of the season with double-digit kills.
“[I] couldn’t be more proud of our team to be able to come in here and pick up a win against a really strong North Carolina team in a really wonderful environment,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “[We’re] pretty excited we could put our game together like we did tonight. We continually work on blocking every single day in practice, so it’s really exciting to get the numbers we got tonight. UNC has a great offense, and it’s not an easy thing to stop.”
The two in-state rivals traded blows in the opening frame with Duke able to edge North Carolina in the end, 25-22. Down 14-11, the Blue Devils used a 4-0 run to eke ahead 15-14. Back-to-back Sklar kills would extend the Blue Devils’ advantage to 23-20 before Cook and Sklar combined on a block to clinch the victory. The duo of Sklar and Campbell registered 10 kills in the frame, while Duke hit .242 to .114 for the Tar Heels.
North Carolina bolted out to a 3-0 lead to start the second game, but the Blue Devil kept their composure and worked to build a 17-14 margin. The Tar Heels responded with three consecutive points to knot the score at 17-all before Duke rallied with three straight points of its own. Duke ultimately secured the 25-22 victory as Tucker picked up the kill on a broken play.
The third set proved to be just as closely contested as the first two with Duke and UNC battling back and forth throughout. Tied at 12-12, North Carolina committed three straight attack errors to give Duke the edge it needed to put the match away. The Tar Heels fought back to within a point, but Duke answered with a 4-0 spurt to go on top 20-15. Obeime’s 10th kill of the evening made it 24-19 and a final UNC attack error cemented the victory for Duke.
Prior to tonight’s match, North Carolina had lost just four sets all season and had not lost at home since October 7, 2011. The Tar Heels, who trailed this evening for the first time since Sept. 6, had not lost a set in three weeks. The win is Duke’s fourth over a ranked opponent since 2007 and second this season after the Blue Devils defeated No. 16 Illinois in Cameron Indoor Stadium Sept. 21.
Senior Ali McCurdy picked up 14 digs, bringing her within 23 of the school career record. Junior Maggie Deichmeister was a dig shy of her sixth double-double this season, finishing the night with 34 assists and nine digs.
Outside hitter Jovana Bjelica led the Tar Heels with 10 kills, while libero Ece Taner totaled 18 digs to lead all players.
The Blue Devils return to action Sunday, Oct. 13, venturing to Raleigh for a 2 p.m., tilt against NC State.