MINNEAPOLIS – Facing its second top 10 opponent this season, the Duke volleyball team came up short Saturday evening, dropping a 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-17) decision at No. 4 Minnesota in the final match of the 2013 Diet Coke Classic.
The Gophers’ Tori Dixon led all players with 15 kills to go along with eight blocks while Ashley Wittman was close behind with 13 kills. Minnesota (7-0) totaled 11 team blocks to three for the Blue Devils and posted a .397 hitting percentage for the match. Duke was unable to find its rhythm offensively, recording a season-low .097 hitting percentage.
Sophomore Emily Sklar led Duke (4-2) with 11 kills, her fourth match of the season in double-digit kills. Senior Ali McCurdy chipped in with a team-high 12 digs.
“We controlled the ball better on our serve and pass against a top 5 team,” said head coach Jolene Nagel, “but we made too many hitting errors to show for it. We are a team in progress developing to understand what it takes to compete at the highest level. We have high aspirations, and this team will learn from this match tonight and be better as a result.”
Following the match, McCurdy and classmate Chelsea Cook were named to the all-tournament team. McCurdy totaled 43 digs, averaging 4.78 per set, on the weekend to go along with a pair of service aces. Cook was Duke’s most consistent target, posting a .500 hitting percentage with 22 kills and 10 blocks during Duke’s three matches at the Diet Coke Classic.
The Blue Devils return to Durham, N.C., for their first home tournament of the season this coming weekend. The Duke Invitational - featuring Liberty, Utah State and South Carolina – runs Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14 in Cameron Indoor Stadium
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