DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke volleyball concluded a seven-game home stand with its ninth straight-set victory of the 2013 season, downing ACC opponent Virginia Tech 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-17) Saturday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Sophomore outside hitter Emily Sklar led all players with 13 kills on the night. The San Jose, Calif., native committed just one attack error on 32 attempts, good for a .375 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Jeme Obeime continued her strong play, knocking down nine kills.
“We’re really excited to get this one tonight at home against a good Virginia Tech team,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “[Virginia Tech is] always really scrappy; they always present a great offense. I think we worked really hard to be able to get this. We only get to face them once this year and we lost to them in Blacksburg last year, so this was important for us and our team as we continue to develop.”
Duke (11-2, 2-0 ACC) utilized a solid defense effort to limit the Hokies to a .123 hitting percentage. The Blue Devils totaled 12.0 blocks in the contest, including 8.0 in the third set. Senior middle blocker Chelsea Cook amassed a match-high seven blocks, while junior setter Maggie Deichmeister registered a career-high six.
“We knew they had a lot of good hitters,” added Nagel. “It’s a lot to prepare for, but I thought our rightside block did a good job on our timing and being strong in order to contain their outside hitters a little bit. They still got some great shots, but I was pleased that we were able to slow it down some.”
The Blue Devils broke open a closely contested first set with an 8-3 run, staking a 17-12 advantage. Virginia Tech (13-3, 1-1 ACC) cut the margin to three, but the Hokies were unable to close the gap any further, falling 25-19. Sklar paced the Duke offense with five kills in the stanza.
Tied 11-11 in the second set, Duke put together a 6-3 spurt to force a Hokie timeout. Kills from Obeime and freshman Jordan Tucker extended the Blue Devil advantage to six points, but Virginia Tech rallied with an 8-3 run of its own. A Virginia Tech block made brought the Hokies within one, 23-22, before Duke clinched the set with back-to-back kills from Cook and sophomore Elizabeth Campbell.
Virginia Tech raced out to an early 5-1 lead in the third set, resulting in a Duke timeout. The Blue Devils settled down after that, winning 11 of the next 15 points to build a 12-9 advantage. Duke did not look back the rest of the way, ultimately sealing the match with a Sklar kill.
Senior libero Ali McCurdy reached double-digit digs for the 13th time this season, accumulating a match-high 14. Hokie freshman outside hitter Lindsey Owens totaled 11 kills, seven digs and six blocks for Virginia Tech.
Duke travels to Notre Dame for its first conference road match of the season Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.