DURHAM, N.C. – Twenty-nine regular season matches, including eight against 2013 NCAA Tournament team, comprise the 2014 Duke volleyball schedule as announced by head coach Jolene Nagel. Duke faces yet another demanding schedule in its 16th season under Nagel’s guidance as 10 of the Blue Devils’ 25 opponents posted 20 or more wins a season ago.
The 2014 slate pits 11-time ACC Champion Duke against 2013 NCAA Tournament teams Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Oklahoma in non-conference action as well as Florida State, North Carolina, Miami and Louisville during the 18-match ACC schedule.
The Blue Devils kick off the 2014 campaign with the Duke Invitational Aug. 29 and 30 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. 2014 marks the 17th consecutive campaign in which Duke has hosted a home tournament as this year’s installment features North Florida from the Atlantic Sun, High Point from the Big South and Furman from the SoCon.
Following a home match Tuesday, Sept. 2 against Campbell, Duke hits the road for the The Great Lake State, taking the court against Big Ten adversaries Michigan and Michigan State Friday, Sept. 5 and Saturday, Sept. 6, respectively.
The early season road swing continues the next weekend with a cross country trip to northern California. The Blue Devils battle the Cardinal of Stanford Friday, Sept. 12 then face Santa Clara from the West Coast Conference and Penn from the Ivy League Saturday, Sept. 13.
“We have a couple players from northern California, and look forward to the high quality competition at the tournament,” Nagel added. “We will be playing both at Stanford and at Santa Clara so we’ll only play Penn there on a neutral site.”
Duke wraps up the non-conference portion of its schedule with home matches against Big 12 opponents West Virginia (Sept. 19) and Oklahoma (Sept. 20).
“Playing West Virginia and Oklahoma adds to our strength of schedule,” Nagel said. “It keeps the pressure on as we try to get better each and every match.”
The Blue Devils open the ACC portion of their schedule at home against Georgia Tech (Sept. 26) and Miami (Sept. 28) before embarking on a stretch of four-straight road matches at Virginia (Oct. 3), Notre Dame (Oct. 5), Boston College (Oct. 10) and Wake Forest (Oct. 12).
Duke wraps up October in the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium, welcoming Virginia (Oct. 17), North Carolina (Oct. 19), Clemson (Oct. 24) and Wake Forest (Oct. 31).
The Blue Devils head to Virginia Tech (Nov. 2) prior to a home match versus Pitt (Nov. 7). Four of Duke’s final six matches are on the road, including the last three to complete the regular season schedule. A trip to Syracuse (Nov. 9) precludes the Blue Devils’ final two home matches against Florida State (Nov. 13) and Notre Dame (Nov. 16). Road matches at Louisville (Nov. 21), North Carolina (Nov. 26) and NC State (Nov. 29) round out Duke’s schedule.
“Our ACC schedule is different from years past since we no longer have travel partners,” Nagel said. “Due to the distance between matches, we have some split weekends which is new to us. The ACC schedule is a grind due to the competitiveness within our league, but that makes for very exciting matches.”
After compiling a 28-5 overall record and 18-2 mark in the ACC, Duke made its conference-leading 18th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013. Despite losing seniors Ali McCurdy and Chelsea Cook to graduation, Duke adds four freshmen into a mix which includes third team All-American outside hitter Emily Sklar, All-ACC hitter Jeme Obeime, All-ACC setter Maggie Deichmeister and All-ACC Freshman Team middle blocker Jordan Tucker.