DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke volleyball team held a 2-1 advantage overall before a late Tiger rally in the fourth set propelled Clemson to a 3-2 (25-13, 17-25, 16-25, 25-22, 15-11) victory Friday evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke (10-9, 1-6 ACC) seemed to have gained control of the match, building a 22-19 margin late in the fourth set before Clemson (13-6, 4-4 ACC) came roaring back, winning the final six points of the frame to tie the match at 2-2. The Tigers' momentum carried over into the final set as Clemson (13-6, 4-4 ACC) emerged victorious in the two teams' fifth, five-set match in the past six seasons.
"Clemson executed well and was more aggressive than we were," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "We did some nice things tonight. We had four different hitters in double-digit kills. We played some good defense, but we just need to finish stronger if we want to come out with the win."
Duke knocked down 65 kills to 49 for Clemson, but costly errors, 15 of which came on Tiger blocks, hampered the Blue Devils.
Sophomore setter Maggie Deichmeister had a season-high 50 assists to go along with 19 digs, three kills, two blocks and an ace in her first double-double of the season. Freshmen Elizabeth Campbell and Breanna Atkinson both recorded careers highs in the contest with 13 and 12 kills, respectively, while Campbell also added 16 digs for her first career double-double.
In total, four Blue Devils reached double-digit kills, led by senior Christiana Gray's season-high 16. Rookie Emily Sklar also chipped in with 11 kills. Junior libero Ali McCurdy topped the 30-dig threshold for the third time this season with 34 tonight versus the Tigers, increasing her ACC-leading average to 5.80 digs per set.
Sandra Adeleye led Clemson with 15 kills, while Serenat Yaz, Kristin Faust and Moneshia Simmons added 10 apiece.
Duke got off to a slow start in the first set, committing 11 errors in a 25-13 win for the Tigers. The Blue Devils' memory was short, however, as Duke came storming back in the following game. Atkinson paced Duke with four kills, her first leading to a Clemson timeout with the Blue Devils up 10-4. Clemson narrowed the deficit to 15-13 before a 10-4 run iced the set for Duke. Kills by junior Chelsea Cook, who finished with eight on .389 hitting, and Atkinson closed out the set.
Duke again controlled the tempo in the third set, registering a match-high .350 team hitting percentage, compared to .087 for the Tigers. The Blue Devils sprinted out to a 15-5 advantage en route to a 25-16 decision to take a 2-1 lead overall.
In a tightly contested fourth set, neither team was able to pull away early. Clemson led by three at the midway point, but Duke battled back with three kills from Gray in a 6-2 Blue Devil run. With Duke up 22-19, the Tigers pounced on a pair of Duke miscues, leading to a 6-0 rally and 25-22 Clemson victory in the fourth set.
The two teams traded blows in the fifth set with Clemson taking an early 5-2 lead before Duke responded to pull ahead 7-6. Four consecutive points for the Tigers gave Clemson a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way as Clemson sealed the victory with a Faust kill.
Next up, Duke faces Georgia Tech Saturday at 7 p.m., in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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