DURHAM, N.C. – The 15th-ranked Duke volleyball team hits the road this weekend, traveling to Maryland and Pittsburgh for a pair of key ACC matches. The Blue Devils take the court against the Terps at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 from Maryland’s Comcast Center prior to a 1 p.m. match Sunday, Nov. 10 versus the Panthers at Pitt’s Fitzgerald Field House.
The Blue Devils have won 16 of their past 17 matches and sit atop the ACC standings with a 20-3 overall record and 11-1 mark in league contests. Duke leads No. 18 Florida State by one match heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
Riding a six match winning streak, Duke climbed to No. 15 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Poll, marking the Blue Devils’ highest national ranking since the 2007 campaign. The Blue Devils feature a dynamic offense, led by three players who average over 3.00 kills per set in Elizabeth Campbell, Jeme Obeime and Emily Sklar.
After securing All-ACC Freshman Team honors in 2012, Sklar has continued her solid play as a sophomore. The only player in the conference to garner ACC Player of the Week honor twice, she leads the team and ranks second in the league with a 3.96 kills per set average. Fellow outside hitter Obeime has also enjoyed a standout season, knocking down 3.28 kills per set while hitting at a .308 clip. In addition, rightside Campbell averages 3.04 kills per game, totaling double-digit kills in eight matches this season.
Junior setter Maggie Deichmeister coordinates the Duke attack, dishing out 11.21 assists per frame to lead the ACC. The Whitehall, Pa., native has tossed up 50 or more assists four times this season and leads the team with six double-doubles as well.
Led by the ACC’s all-time digs leader Ali McCurdy and rookie defensive specialist Sasha Karelov, Duke’s defense paces the league, averaging 16.05 digs per set. The Blue Devils have limited opponents to a .167 hitting percentage, a mark which ranks third in the ACC, and have allowed just six opposing teams to hit over .200 this season.
Maryland (12-12, 4-8 ACC) returns home following a 3-1 loss at Notre Dame this past Friday. The Terps have been strong on their home court, posting a 10-3 record when playing at the Comcast Center. A solid defensive team, Maryland ranks second in the league in blocks (2.77 bps) and fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.173). Senior outside hitter Mary Cushman is the Terps’ top offensive target, totaling 292 kills on the year.
Friday’s match marks the 67th meeting between Duke and Maryland in program history. The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 40-26 after the two teams split a home-and-home series in 2012.
Pitt (12-13, 4-8 ACC) faces Wake Forest Friday looking to snap a five-match losing streak. The Panthers boast one of the top serving teams in the nation, averaging 1.63 service aces per set to lead the ACC. Junior outside hitter Jessica Wynn averages 3.05 kills per set to pace the Panther offense.
Duke squares off against Pitt for the 10th time in school history and first as conference rivals Sunday. The Panthers own a 6-3 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1978. Sunday’s match is the first meeting between the two schools since 2005.
Next up, Duke travels to Wake Forest Friday Nov. 15 before hosting Georgia Tech Saturday, Nov. 16