DURHAM, N.C. – Duke volleyball head coach Jolene Nagel announced the team’s 2013 schedule Thursday as the Blue Devils are set for 31 regular season matches in their 15th season under Nagel’s guidance. Duke’s upcoming schedule is once again demanding as 11 of the Blue Devils’ 25 opponents posted 20 or more wins last season.
The 2013 slate pits Duke against NCAA Tournament teams Florida, Liberty, LIU-Brooklyn and Minnesota in non-conference action as well as Florida State, Miami, NC State, North Carolina and Notre Dame during the 20-game ACC schedule. In addition, eight of the Blue Devils’ opponents finished the 2012 season in the top-64 of the final RPI standings.
Duke will play 15 home matches this season in Cameron Indoor Stadium, an arena where the Blue Devils are 151-30 (.834) over the past 13 seasons. The Blue Devils will play 12 matches as the visiting team and four on neutral courts.
“We’re excited about the challenge our 2013 schedule presents both in the preseason and our ACC regular season,” said Nagel. “Our team is still relatively young, but we have grown a lot in the past year, gaining valuable experience during spring training and our chance-of-a-lifetime trip to Europe. Our players have learned more about themselves and are challenging each other daily as we prepare for the start of the season.”
The Blue Devils kick off the 2013 campaign with a trip to Gainesville, Fla., for the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational, hosted by the University of Florida. Duke opens the season with matches against LIU-Brooklyn and New Orleans Friday Aug. 30 before squaring off with 2012 SEC Champion Florida Saturday, Aug. 31.
Duke then heads to Minneapolis, Minn., the first weekend in September to participate in the Diet Coke Classic Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7, facing Western Illinois, Ball State and host-team Minnesota.
The Blue Devils return home for the Duke Invitational Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14, playing Liberty, Utah State and South Carolina in its first three home matches. Duke then hosts Big Ten foes Indiana and Illinois Friday, Sept. 20 and Saturday, Sept. 21, respectively.
“We have our work cut out for us early in the season as we head to Florida and Minnesota,” Nagel said. “We also host high-level competition at home in South Carolina, Utah State and Liberty as well as Illinois and Indiana. We are really going to be tested during the first four weeks of the season and it won’t get any easier as we transition to our ACC schedule. We’re adding Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, bringing the total to 15 ACC teams, so it’s going to be a competitive, gut-checking journey and our team is excited to begin.”
Duke opens the ACC portion of its schedule at home against Virginia (Sept. 27) and Virginia Tech (Sept. 28) before traveling to conference newcomer Notre Dame Oct. 2. The first game of a home-and-home series with Wake Forest takes place Oct. 6 in Cameron before the Blue Devils hit the road for North Carolina (Oct. 11), NC State (Oct. 12), Georgia Tech (Oct. 18) and Clemson (Oct. 20).
The Blue Devils’ midseason road swing comes to a close with four straight home matches versus Florida State (Oct. 25), Miami (Oct. 26), Syracuse (Nov. 1) and Boston College (Nov. 2).
Trips to Maryland (Nov. 8), Pittsburgh (Nov. 10) and Wake Forest (Nov. 15) are up next, followed by a home contest versus Georgia Tech Nov. 16. The Blue Devils close out the regular season schedule with away matches at Miami (Nov. 22) and Florida State (Nov. 24) prior to their two final home matches versus NC State (Nov. 27) and North Carolina (Nov. 29).
The ACC does not have a conference tournament as the conference regular season champion earns the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament will take place the first weekend in December.
Duke returns 11 letterwinners from last season’s team, including the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year in libero Ali McCurdy and ACC All-Freshman Team selections Elizabeth Campbell and Emily Sklar.