DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke University volleyball team will play host to in-state rivals North Carolina and NC State Friday and Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils take on the Tar Heels at 7 p.m., Friday, October 26 before facing the Wolfpack at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 27 following the men's basketball exhibition game.
The Blue Devils will face stiff competition this weekend as both North Carolina and NC State are receiving votes in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll. Fans unable to attend can follow the action via live stats and live video, both available through GoDuke.com.
Saturday's match has also been designated as Duke's Dig Pink event to honor those affected by breast cancer. The team will don pink socks and shoes while pink shirts - also worn by the team - will be featured in the Super Serve contest between the second and third sets.
Last weekend, Duke (12-11, 3-8 ACC) split a pair of matches on the road with a win over Virginia and a loss to Virginia Tech. Senior Megan Hendrickson led the Blue Devils with 13 kills and 19 digs in Duke's 3-1 victory at Virginia Friday evening. The momentum would not carry over to Saturday, however, as the Blue Devils dropped a 3-1 decision to the Hokies in Blacksburg.
As a team, Duke currently leads the ACC, averaging 17.28 digs per set. Junior libero Ali McCurdy has been a stable presence on the Blue Devil backline and leads the league with a 5.78 digs per set average. Duke's all-time leader in digs per set, McCurdy has 1,776 pickups during her Blue Devil career, 42 shy of the No. 2 spot in the program career record books.
On offense, the Blue Devils rely on a corps of talented underclassmen with freshmen Emily Sklar and Elizabeth Campbell, along with sophomore Jeme Obeime, combining for over half of Duke's kills on the season. Obeime leads the way with 236 kills, while Sklar owns a team-high 3.13 kills per set average.
North Carolina, winner of four straight, is 17-4 overall and 8-3 in the conference heading into the weekend. Friday marks the 102nd meeting between UNC and Duke. The Tar Heels hold a 52-49 advantage in the series, including a 3-2 victory over the Blue Devils earlier this season in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heel roster contains two players - Paige Neuenfeldt and Tia Gafeen - who rank in the top-10 in the ACC in blocks per set, while Ece Taner ranks eighth in the league averaging 3.96 digs per set.
NC State enters the weekend with a 19-3 overall mark and 9-2 league record. The Wolfpack square off with Wake Forest Friday before confronting the Blue Devils in the two programs' 89th meeting Saturday. Duke, which has not lost to NC State at home since September 27, 1988, holds a 59-29 all-time record versus the Wolfpack, but it was NC State which emerged victorious, 3-1, in the teams' first meeting of the season in Raleigh, N.C.
NC State boasts one of the top defensive units in the ACC, limiting opponents to .155 hitting, while the Wolfpack also averages 1.38 aces per set, the second-highest clip in the league. Dariyan Hopper leads the team with 206 kills with Nikki Glass is close behind at 196. Setter Megan Cyr leads the team in assists as well as solo and total blocks.
The Blue Devils will play five of their remaining seven regular season contests on the road as Duke heads to Boston College and Maryland next weekend. Duke's final home matches will take place November 8 and 10 against league leaders Florida State and Miami, respectively.