DURHAM, N.C. – Winners of four straight, the 18th-ranked Duke volleyball team looks to remain atop the ACC standings as the Blue Devils host conference foes Syracuse and Boston College this weekend in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke takes the court against Syracuse Friday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m., before welcoming Boston College Saturday, Nov. 2, also at 6:30 p.m. Early-arriving attendees should visit the marketing table to pick up unique giveaway items, including Duke volleyball fans Friday and Duke volleyball cups Saturday. For fans unable to attend, the Blue Devil Network will stream both contests via GoDuke.com, while live stats are also available through Duke’s official website.
At 18-3 overall and 9-1 in the ACC, Duke remains tied with No. 12 North Carolina for first place in the league standings. The Blue Devils climbed five spots to No. 18 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, marking the first time Duke cracked the top 20 since holding the No. 17 spot to begin the 2011 campaign.
Duke features an exciting offensive attack, which leads the ACC in kills per set (15.03) and assists per set (13.91). The Blue Devils also rank in the top 5 nationally in both categories. Not to be outdone, Duke’s defense also paces the league with a 15.93 digs per set average.
Three Duke hitters – Elizabeth Campbell, Jeme Obeime and Emily Sklar – average over 3.00 kills per set, led by Sklar’s 3.99 clip. The only ACC player to garner league player of the week honors twice this season, Sklar leads the Blue Devils with 267 kills and ranks second in the conference in kills per set. In addition, Obeime is one of just two ACC players to average over 3.30 kills per game while also hitting over .300.
One of the keys to Duke’s offense, junior setter Maggie Deichmeister dishes out 11.17 assists per set to rank second in the league. Deichmeister is the only ACC setter to amass 55 assists or more twice this season and she also provides solid defense, leading Duke with five double-doubles.
Senior libero Ali McCurdy and freshman defensive specialist Sasha Karelov anchor the Duke back line. The Blue Devils’ career digs leader, McCurdy has picked up double-digit digs in 49 consecutive matches and is 35 digs shy of breaking the ACC career record.
The Blue Devils must contend with a Syracuse team hitting its stride just over the midway point in the season. Winners of four straight, the Orange is 10-12 overall and 5-5 in conference action during its first season as a member of the ACC. Syracuse most recently knocked off Clemson and Georgia Tech at home.
Reigning ACC Freshman of the Week Erica Handley orchestrates the Syracuse offense. The rookie setter picked up league freshman of the week honors after totaling career bests in assists (55), digs (8) and kills (4) in the Orange’s four-set win over Clemson. Handley’s top targets, outsides Silvi Uattara and Nicolette Serratore, have combined for 494 kills as the duo averages just over six kills per game.
Friday’s matchup marks the first time the two programs meet as conference rivals. Duke has faced Syracuse just twice in program history and owns a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams last met on Oct. 9, 1993, a 3-0 road victory for the Blue Devils. Duke also won the inaugural meeting on Nov. 16, 1991 by a score of 3-1 in Durham, N.C.
Boston College is in search of its first ACC win of the season, bringing an 8-14 overall ledger and 0-10 conference mark into the weekend. The Eagles square off with Wake Forest prior to meeting Duke Saturday in Cameron.
Sophomore outside Katty Workman highlights the Eagle offense, averaging 3.38 kills per set to rank fourth in the conference. An ACC All-Freshman Team honoree in 2012, Workman is one of four ACC players to total 300 or more kills this season.
After 15 contests against the Eagles in program history, Duke leads the all-time series 14-1. The two teams split this past season’s home-and-home series as Boston College secured its first win over Duke Oct. 6 in Durham, N.C. The Blue Devils then earned a 3-2 road victory in their last meeting against the Eagles.
Saturday’s contest concludes a four-match home stand for the Blue Devils. Duke takes to the road this coming weekend, traveling to Maryland and Pittsburgh.
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