CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - For the second time in as many matches, the Duke University volleyball team rallied for a five-set victory, this time coming back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Boston College 3-2 (21-25, 24-26, 25-19, 25-15, 15-5) Friday evening at Power Gym.
Boston College (10-16, 4-10 ACC) opened the match with a 2-0 advantage, limiting Duke (14-12, 5-9 ACC) to .156 hitting in the first two frames. Behind the strength of its defense, the Blue Devils' offense found its rhythm in the final three sets, totaling 39 kills to 28 for the Eagles while hitting .333 as a team.
"Our offense wasn't working well in the first two sets, but our block kept us in it," said head coach Jolene Nagel. "We were working really hard on defense and started to dig more balls and put more balls away. We gained confidence as we got a few stops defensively and then put a couple balls down. That helped us breathe and smile at each other a little bit, really be in tune with what we needed to do to get the job done."
A consistent presence for the Blue Devils all season, middle blockers Chelsea Cook and Christiana Gray combined for 27 kills and 10 blocks on the night. Gray tied for the team lead with 16 kills, while Cook added 11 to go along with a match-high six blocks. Duke's defense, which also amassed 12 blocks, received another strong performance from junior Ali McCurdy. McCurdy registered 23 digs against the Eagles and now sits in the No. 2 spot in the school records with 1,834 career digs.
In total, four Blue Devils reached double-digit kills led by Gray and freshman Elizabeth Campbell with 16 each. Duke received double-doubles from a pair of rookies in Campbell (16 kills, 20 digs) and Emily Sklar (11 kills, 10 digs), who combined for 27 kills and 30 digs.
In addition, the Blue Devils recorded a season-high eight aces for the match, including three in the decisive fifth frame.
After falling behind 2-0, Duke regrouped in set three and built a 15-10 lead by the midway point. Boston College cut the margin to 21-18, but the Blue Devils won four of the final five points to close out the set.
Duke opened the fourth set with an 11-7 lead, culminating in a Kelsey Williams kill and an Eagle timeout. Williams finished the night with three kills on four attempts and directed the Duke offense, totaling 44 assists. Boston College was unable to trim the Duke advantage the rest of the frame and sophomore Jeme Obeime clinched the 25-15 victory with a kill followed by a block.
The fifth set belonged to the Blue Devils as Duke knocked down seven kills on 12 attacks while limiting the Eagles to .050 hitting. A Sklar ace, her fourth of the night, put Duke up 9-4 before the Blue Devils finished the match on a 6-1 run.
Duke returns to action Sunday, November 4, taking on Maryland at 2 p.m., at the Comcast Pavilion.
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