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Courtesy: Perrone Ford
Volleyball Returns to Cameron for Duke Invitational
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 09/12/2013
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DURHAM, N.C. – After two straight weekends on the road, the Duke volleyball team kicks off the home portion of its schedule with the Duke Invitational Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14. The tournament features six matches over two days as the Blue Devils welcome Liberty, South Carolina and Utah State to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Live stats are available for all six matches, while the Blue Devil Network will stream live video of Duke’s contests against Liberty and Utah State. A complete tournament schedule is listed below:
Friday, September 13
10 a.m. – Utah State vs. South Carolina | Live Stats
12 p.m. – Duke vs. Liberty | Live Stats | Live Video
5 p.m. – South Carolina vs. Liberty | Live Stats
7 p.m. – Duke vs. Utah State | Live Stats | Live Video
Saturday, September 14
11:30 a.m. – Liberty vs. Utah State | Live Stats
1:30 p.m. – Duke vs. South Carolina | Live Stats
A return to Cameron is a welcome change of pace for the Blue Devils. Since 2000, Duke (4-2) boasts a 151-30 record when playing at home, including a 38-match win streak that ran from 2004-07.
This past weekend, the Blue Devils went 2-1 at the Diet Coke Classic in Minneapolis. Duke secured convincing wins over Western Illinois and Ball State to open the tournament before falling to No. 4 Minnesota. In addition, Duke’s two seniors – middle blocker Chelsea Cook and libero Ali McCurdy – garnered all-tournament team recognition.
Sophomore Emily Sklar is currently tops on the team with 58 kills to start the 2013 campaign. Along with Jeme Obeime (47), Elizabeth Campbell (42) and Jordan Tucker (41), she is one of four Blue Devils with 40 or more kills this year.
Junior Maggie Deichmeister has handled the bulk of the setting duties, totaling 163 assists to go along with 40 digs. Cook and McCurdy have anchored Duke’s defense, which is limiting opponents to a .172 hitting percentage. Cook leads the team with 18 blocks while McCurdy’s 78 digs is tops on the Blue Devil roster. With 2,023 career digs to her credit, McCurdy is just the second Duke player to reach the 2,000 dig milestone. She enters the weekend 177 digs shy of the school record (2,200) held by Jenny Shull.
Liberty (1-6) sustained three straight setbacks at the Kentucky Classic, culminating in a 3-0 loss against No. 21 Kentucky. Senior outside hitter Lillie Happel recorded her 1,000th career kill over the weekend and currently leads the Lady Flames with 55 on the young season.
Friday’s afternoon match marks the fourth between the Lady Flames and the Blue Devils in program history. Duke is 3-0 all-time against Liberty, including a five-set victory in the two schools’ last encounter during the 2009 season.
Utah State (5-2) travels east following the Aggies’ first sweep of the season, a 3-0 win over Weber State Tuesday. Junior outside hitter Rachel Orr, a 2012 All-WAC first team selection, currently leads the Aggies in both kills (113) and digs (84).
Friday evening’s contest is the first between Duke and Utah State. After eight seasons in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), the Aggies are in their first season as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
South Carolina (3-3) opened the season with three consecutive wins at the Gamecock Invitational. However, the Gamecocks could not carry over the momentum, dropping three decisions to Clemson, Furman and Winthrop at the Big Orange Bash. Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin recorded 20 kills or more in each of South Carolina’s past three matches and ranks sixth in the nation, averaging 5.09 kills per set.
The Gamecocks and the Blue Devils were regular opponents throughout the 1980s, but have met just three times since 2000. Duke holds a 9-7 edge in the all-time series, but South Carolina has won four of the teams’ past five meetings.
Friday marks the first of seven straight home matches for the Blue Devils. Duke welcomes Big Ten opponents Indiana and Illinois to Cameron next weekend, facing the Hoosiers Friday, Sept. 20 and the Fighting Illini Saturday, Sept. 21.