After beginning their ACC competition with four straight road matches, all losses, the Blue Devils returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face Maryland and Boston College.
Duke (10-8, 1-5 in the ACC) swept the Terrapins Friday night, but fell in three sets to the Eagles Saturday.
“Heavenly,” said head coach Jolene Nagel said about playing at home. “We’ve been gone a long time, and it’s great to be back here. The team enjoys this atmosphere so much more than the atmosphere on the road, and I really think that made a difference [Friday night.]”
In its first home game since a Sept. 8th victory against Northeastern, Duke came out strong Friday and beat Maryland 25-13, 29-27, 25-23. The Terrapins’ (10-8, 2-5) .186 hitting percentage and 18 attack errors helped the Blue Devils overcome a series of offensive miscues in the second and third sets and take the victory.
Duke’s .483 hitting percentage made quick work of the Terrapins in the first set. Senior middle blocker Christiana Gray racked up six kills on just nine attempts, and freshmen setter Christina Vucich dished out 11 assists.
Maryland took control early in the second set and led the entire way until a kill by Gray tied the score 20-20. After falling behind several times, kills by sophomore outside hitter Jeme Obeime tied the score at 24 and then at 25. Two points later, Obeime registered her sixth kill of the set and gave Duke the lead at 27-26. Freshman outside hitter Emily Sklar registered her fifth kill of the set to give the Blue Devils the 2-0 advantage.
With the score tied at 23-23 in the final set, Obeime recorded her team-leading 12th kill of the match and an attack error by the Terrapins gave Duke its first conference victory. Sklar finished with nine kills, and Gray finished with eight kills and a .538 hitting percentage. Vucich tallied 35 assists on the night.
“We were real solid in that first set,” Nagel said. “Maryland definitely took advantage of some things in the second and third sets, but I liked the way our team hung in there and adjusted to that.”
It was the Blue Devils turn to get swept Saturday night. Boston College (10-9, 4-3) held Duke to a .183 hitting percentage, and the Blue Devils’ 16 errors doomed them to a 25-22, 26-24, 25-19 loss. Gray and freshman middle blocker Elizabeth Campbell each recorded nine kills. Vucich recorded a double-double, posting 32 assists and 11 digs.
Both sides gave little ground and kept the score close in the opening frame until the Eagles finished off the set with a 5-1 run.
After taking leads at 17-15 and 24-22 in the second set, the Blue Devils committed costly errors that allowed Boston College to tie the score at 24-24. A service ace by Kellie Barnum and a kill by Kameron McLain gave the Eagles a 2-0 set advantage.
Boston College climbed out to a 16-12 lead midway through the third frame and finished off the set 25-19. Led by freshman outside hitter Katty Workman’s 21 kills, the Eagles closed out the match and handed Duke its first home loss of the season.