DURHAM, N.C. – Duke senior libero Sasha Karelov earned ACC Defensive Player of the Year distinction and joined senior middle blocker Jordan Tucker and sophomore middle blocker Leah Meyer on the All-ACC first team as announced by the league office Monday. In addition, setter Cindy Marina and rightside hitter Samantha Amos garnered ACC All-Freshman Team accolades.
The ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-ACC citations are the first for Karelov, who collected second team all-league honors in each of the past two seasons. Tucker makes her second appearance on the All-ACC first team while Meyer picked up the first all-conference honor of her career after collecting ACC All-Freshman Team honors in 2015.
Duke and North Carolina are the only two squads with three first team All-ACC selections in 2016.
Duke’s starting libero each of the past three seasons, Karelov once again anchored the Blue Devil back row in 2016, leading the conference with 634 digs and a 5.42 digs-per-set average. The Raleigh, N.C., native picked up 20-plus digs on 15 occasions, including a program-record 44 digs Sept. 30 at Notre Dame.
Karelov finished her collegiate career with 2,023 to become the third Blue Devil in program history with 2,000 career digs, joining Ali McCurdy (2,538) and Jenny Shull (2,200). In addition, her career 4.52 digs-per-set average ranks fourth all-time at Duke.
A dominant presence for Duke in the middle, Tucker ended the season with career bests in kills (387), kills per set (3.31) and hitting percentage (.358). She knocked down 10 or more kills 24 times and topped .300 hitting on 18 occasions in 2016. Tucker finished the season ranked third in the ACC in hitting percentage and was the only middle blocker ranked in the top 10 in the league in kills per frame and points (456.0).
For her career, Tucker ranks 14th in program history in kills (1,186), fifth in hitting percentage (.319) and eighth in blocks (401). She is the ninth Blue Devil to surpass 400 career blocks and is one of sixth Duke players all-time to top 1,000 career kills and 400 blocks while hitting above .300 for a career.
Meyer was also a tremendous force for Duke, totaling 316 kills while posting a .333 hitting percentage and 1.31 blocks per set in 2016. She finishes the season ranked seventh in the ACC in hitting percentage (.333) and sixth in blocks per frame (1.31). Meyer dropped double-digit kills 19 times this season, including a career-best 21 Nov. 18 versus Florida State. She also recorded the first double-double by a Duke middle blocker since 2012, totaling 12 kills and 11 blocks Sept. 24 at Virginia.
For her career to date, Meyer ranks fourth in Duke history with a 1.18 blocks per set average and sixth in hitting percentage (.316).
Amos turned in a stellar freshman campaign, finishing fourth on the team in kills (205) and third in kills per set (2.25). Amos knocked down 10-plus kills nine times and totaled 4.0 or more blocks in 13 matches. She ended the season with 93 blocks and a 1.02 blocks-per-set average, second only to Meyer in both categories. Amos earned ACC Freshman of the Week accolades Nov. 7 after career bests in kills in consecutive matches against Louisville and Notre Dame.
Marina played in every set as a freshman running Duke’s 5-1 system. She leads the league in assists per frame (11.11) and is the only ACC setter to average better than 11.00 assists per set. She topped 40 assists in 17 games and also led the Blue Devils with 27 service aces. Marina was exceptional on defense as well, trailing only Karelov in total digs (313) and digs per set (2.68), to total a team-best 17 double-doubles.
The Blue Devils finished the 2016 campaign tied for third in the ACC standings with a 15-5 league mark and 21-9 overall record. Duke reached 20 wins for the 27th time in program history and 10th time in the past 12 seasons.