WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Kadija Fornah and Lauren McIntyre combined for 23 kills, and Wake Forest pulled off a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 26-24) upset win over ACC Champion Duke on Tuesday evening in Reynolds Gym.
Fornah and McIntyre both reached double-digit kills with Fornah leading Wake Forest (19-12, 11-9 ACC) with 13. Fornah, a 6-0 outside hitter, picked up a double-double with a team-high 12 digs and came up big in the third set, finishing 6-for-9 attacking in the final game.
Fornah and McIntyre were two of three Demon Deacons to finish over .300 hitting as senior setter Kelsey Jones dished out 37 assists and led Wake Forest to a .270 hitting percentage. The Deacs became only the eighth team to hit over .200 against the Blue Devils (24-6, 16-4 ACC) this season.
Duke still claims the 2010 ACC Volleyball Championship despite the loss, which marked only the second time this season that the Blue Devils has lost 3-0 and the first time since Nov. 13, 2008, that Duke has lost in straight sets to an ACC opponent.
Leading the way for Duke was junior middle blocker Amanda Robertson, who totaled 13 kills on 26 attacks. Sophia Dunworth also chipped in 11 kills while sophomore Christiana Gray finished with 10 kills and a .643 hitting percentage. Gray opened the match by going 8-for-8 and finished with only one attack error on 14 tries.
ACC assists leader Kellie Catanach chipped in 39 assists for Duke, which finishes the regular season with at least 24 wins for a school-record sixth consecutive season. Catanach also added a service ace and six digs while surpassing 30 digs for the 20th consecutive match.
Wake Forest gutted out a first-set victory thanks to four team blocks and the play of McIntyre, who went 5-for-8 attacking with no errors. Duke scored the first six points of the match, putting the Demon Deacons into a 6-0 hole, but Wake Forest bounced right back following a timeout and tied the match at 11-11. From there, the Deacs scored seven straight points on the way to a 17-11 lead and held off a late Duke rally to win 25-21. Kadija Fornah had two kills and two blocks to account for four of Wake Forest’s last five points.
The Demon Deacons kept that momentum rolling through the second set and pulled out a 25-20 victory behind a five-kill effort from Fornah. Wake Forest never trailed and successfully fought off a late Duke rally to stake a two-set lead. Setter Kelsey Jones dished out 13 assists while Fornah finished 5-for-9 and Andrea Beck went 4-for-8. The Wake Forest defense held Duke to a .179 hitting percentage and under .200 for the second straight frame as only Gray, who went 6-for-7, was able to consistently convert her attacks.
Duke put up a fight in game three, but Wake Forest once again stifled a late rally to clinch the match with a 26-24 third-set win. Fornah took over, finished with six kills on nine attacks, five digs, a block and an ace. Her production was just enough to outpace the performance of Gray, who went 6-for-8, and Dunworth, who finished 5-for-11. Catanach also tossed out 16 assists in the finale, but it was not enough to overcome a Demon Deacon offense that posted a .389 hitting percentage with only three attack errors. Duke came within one point of clinching the set with a 24-22 lead, but Wake Forest scored four straight on kills from Carlin Salmon and McIntyre before two Duke attack errors ended the match.
The loss to Wake Forest marks the end of the regular season for Duke, which will learn its first round NCAA Tournament assignment on Sunday, November 28, during the NCAA Selection Show on ESPN News at 3 p.m.