DURHAM, N.C. - Eleven matches against 2011 NCAA Championship teams highlight the 2012 Duke volleyball schedule as announced by head coach Jolene Nagel Tuesday, June 5.
Duke's 2012 opponents had a combined record of 419-206 (.578) last season with 13 of those teams posting 20 or more wins. Nine of Duke's opponents, including ACC rivals Clemson, Florida State, Miami and North Carolina, concluded last season in the top-64 of the final RPI standings.
In addition, the Blue Devils' non-conference foes went 232-145 (.615) in2011 as Milwaukee won the Horizon League, Samford won the Southern Conference and Western Kentucky won the Sun Belt, while Louisville captured the Big East regular season title.
"Our 2012 schedule gives us the opportunity to play several strong opponents in the early part of the year as we prepare for the always challenging ACC season," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "After losing four outstanding seniors to graduation, this past spring gave the team a chance to gel together as a group. They set new standards and levels of accountability for themselves and they focused on really developing both their game and the team's culture. I think this will be an important step as we welcome five new freshmen to our Blue Devil family."
Coming off its 17th NCAA Championship appearance, Duke adds five freshmen to its core of nine returning letterwinners from last season's 20-9 squad. The 2011 Blue Devils also finished 15-5 in the conference and secured a bid to the NCAA Tournament for an ACC record seventh consecutive year.
Duke begins the 2012 campaign with four consecutive tournaments, including the Duke Invitational August 24-25 and the Duke Classic September 7-8, both in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils will also compete at the Louisville Tournament August 31-September 1 and the Coke/Michigan Invitational September 14-15.
The 15th annual Duke Invitational pits the Blue Devils against Colonial Athletic Association member William & Mary in the season opener Friday, August 24. Duke will also face 2011 MAAC Runner-up Fairfield and 2011 Horizon League champion Milwaukee on Saturday, August 25. The Blue Devils posted a 14-2 record at home last season and own a 143-24 (.856) record in Cameron since 2000.
Duke then travels to Kentucky the following weekend to face host Louisville, which has made the NCAA Championship field in 13 straight seasons, Friday August 31. The second day of the Louisville Tournament will see the Blue Devils against Marshall out of Conference USA and Southern Conference champion Samford on Saturday, September 1.
The Blue Devils then return home for the Duke Classic, facing in-state foes Elon and East Carolina along with Northeastern from the CAA, before heading up to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Coke/Michigan Invitational. Duke takes on Western Kentucky, the 2011 Sun Belt champion, in first of two bouts on Friday, September 14, followed by a match against Eastern Michigan that evening. The Blue Devils close out the non-conference slate Saturday, September 15 against host Michigan, a team which has advanced to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 in four of the past five seasons.
Following the Coke/Michigan Invitational, Duke kicks off the ACC slate against in-state rivals N.C. State and North Carolina. The Blue Devils and the Wolfpack meet Friday, September 21 in Raleigh before Duke takes on the Tar Heels Sunday, September 23 in Chapel Hill.
The Blue Devils head off to Florida the next weekend to face Florida State and Miami, two teams that finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the conference a season ago. Duke battles the Hurricanes, a top-20 team in last season's final RPI rankings, Friday Sept. 28 then goes up against 2011 NCAA semifinalist FSU Sunday, September 30.
The Blue Devils return home for two straight weeks with a Friday/Saturday showdown with Boston College and Maryland October 5-6. Duke plays host to Clemson Friday, October 12 before welcoming Georgia Tech to Cameron Saturday, October 13.
A weekday match-up with Wake Forest Tuesday, October 16 ends the home stretch as the Blue Devils head to Virginia and Virginia Tech October 19-20. The Blue Devils close out October with home contests against North Carolina (Oct. 26) and N.C. State (Oct. 27).
November begins with a road trip to Boston College for a match against the Eagles November 2. Duke will face Maryland in College Park on November 4 prior to returning to Durham to face Florida State (Nov. 8) and Miami (Nov. 10).
Duke closes out the regular season with three straight road contests, beginning at Georgia Tech on Thursday, November 15. The Blue Devils travel to Clemson Friday, November 16 before facing Wake Forest Tuesday, November 20 to close out the regular season.