COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Kara Bates, Brittney Grove and Mary Cushman combined for 44 kills, and Maryland hit .338 as the Terrapins upset first-place Duke 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 27-25, 25-20) on Sunday afternoon in Comcast Pavilion.
Those three combined for a .411 hitting percentage as Maryland (19-10, 10-7 ACC) hit .338 for the highest hitting percentage of any team against Duke this season. The Blue Devils entered the match holding opponents to a season-low .163 hitting percentage, but could not stop a Maryland offense that totaled 66 kills and only 16 attack errors.
“Maryland played very well tonight, and we just didn’t match their level of intensity,” Duke head coach Jolene Nagel said. “I feel like we didn’t execute like we’re capable. I think it all stemmed from a lack of communication and mistiming our blocks. We weren’t able to touch a lot of balls to slow things down for our defense, and then we weren’t able to transition from there to our offense. It all goes hand-in-hand.”
Despite the loss, which snapped a five-match win streak, Duke (22-5, 14-3 ACC) still owns a two-match lead for first place in the ACC. With three ACC matches remaining, Duke hosts Virginia Tech and Virginia on Nov. 19-20, before taking on Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Nov. 23.
“We have some areas where we need to improve as a team,” Nagel said. “As disappointed as we were today, I know this team cares about everything, and we’re going to get better as a result of it. We’ll be better because of this going forward as we prepare for our last home weekend, the final ACC Stretch and the NCAA Tournament. It will be a huge motivating factor for us.”
Defensively, Maryland used 24 digs from libero Bethany Springer and 10.5 blocks to hold Duke to a .243 clip. Springer had at least five digs in every set while middle blocker Lisa Scott racked up five blocks for the match. The Terrapins also got four blocks apiece from McBain and Grove to snap a nine-match win streak for Duke in the series. The win was Maryland’s first over the Blue Devils since 2005.
The Blue Devils got 14 kills from junior Amanda Robertson and 13 more from classmate Sophia Dunworth, but it was not enough outpace the play of Maryland setter Remy McBain who dished out 54 assists. McBain directed four of her hitters to hitting percentages over .300, including Cushman who went 11-for-22 with no errors.
For Duke, senior Becci Burling posted eight kills, four blocks and a .316 hitting percentage while setter Kellie Catanach dished out 46 assists. Libero Ali McCurdy also turned in 20 digs for the 13th time this season.