COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the third time in as many matches the Duke volleyball team battled its opponent to five sets, but this time the Blue Devils came up just short falling 3-2 (27-25, 23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 10-15 ) to Maryland Sunday afternoon at Comcast Pavilion.
An evenly contested match throughout, Maryland narrowly edged Duke in hitting percentage, .260 to .225, knocking down 72 kills to 66 for the Blue Devils. Both squads registered 10 blocks, while the Terps held the slight advantage in digs, 79-70.
Four Blue Devils totaled double-digit kills, led by freshman Elizabeth Campbell with 17 kills to go along with six digs and three blocks. Fellow rookie Emily Sklar picked up her team-leading ninth double-double on the year as the freshman from San Jose, Calif., amassed 13 kills and 15 digs. Senior Christiana Gray, who also added four blocks, and sophomore Jeme Obeime knocked down 10-plus kills with 15 and 10, respectively.
Sophomore Kelsey Williams chipped in with a double-double, her fifth of the season, totaling 59 assists and 11 digs. Junior Ali McCurdy once again led the Blue Devils in digs with 18 for the match.
Maryland's Mary Cushman paced the Terps with a match-high 18 kills, followed by Ashleigh Crutcher (16 kills) and Emily Fraik (12 kills). The Terps' Amy Dion led all players with 26 digs in the match.
Indicative of the entire match, the first set featured 13 ties and six lead changes as Duke came out on top, 27-25. On offense, Sklar and Gray totaled four kills each in the opening frame while Gray and Campbell added two blocks apiece to help limit Maryland to .118 hitting.
Maryland began the second set on a 5-0 tear, but the Blue Devils regrouped and fought back to take a 16-15 lead following a Gray kill. Neither team was able to pull away late in the set, resulting in a 23-23 stalemate. A Duke miscue and Terp ace gave Maryland the 25-23 win and tied the match 1-1.
The third set featured each teams' top offensive performances of the day with Duke and Maryland combing for 31 kills and just five attack errors. The two teams traded points before the Terps built a two-point advantage at 20-18 after a Kelsey Hrebenach ace. The Blue Devils were unable to counter as Maryland won its second straight set and built a 2-1 advantage overall.
The Blue Devils would not go down without a fight and turned back a late Terp rally for the 25-22 win in set four. With the two teams again tied at 23-23, a Maryland service error gave Duke the opportunity it needed and the Blue Devils did not miss their chance as Obeime recorded the block to end the set.
After tying the match 2-2 with a 25-23 victory in set four, the Blue Devils fell behind 5-0 to start the fifth set. Duke battled back with a 6-2 run before Maryland responded with an 8-4 spurt of its own to close out the match.
Duke returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium next weekend for its final two home matches of the year. The Blue Devils face No. 11 Florida State Thursday, November 8 at 7 p.m., on ESPN3, then take on No. 23 Miami Saturday, November 10, also at 7 p.m.
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