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Duke spikes Villanova

In the first weekend of the 2004 season, the women’s volleyball team recovered from back-to-back losses to Loyola Marymount and Tennessee in the LMU/Four Points Sheraton Volleyball Classic to score a decisive 3-0 victory against Villanova (0-3) Saturday.

“We have a young team that is just getting to know each other,” head coach Jolene Nagel said. “I think if we could have played Villanova first and gotten rid of a few pregame jitters, we would have done better overall.”

The Blue Devils (1-2) dominated the Wildcats throughout the match, never trailing their opponents. Duke improved defensively against Villanova and tallied 45 digs, six team blocks. Senior co-captain Stephanie Istvan lead the effort, picking up 23 digs.

Duke served well, picking up 12 aces. Freshman Ali Hausfeld stood out on offense, posting 48 assists and three kills. During her first collegiate weekend, Hausfeld dished out 130 assists and slammed 10 kills at her opponents’ feet. The freshman was the only Blue Devil to earn a place on the all-tournament team.

“Our freshman setter [Hausfeld] was the reason for our high offensive numbers against Villanova and Tennessee,” Nagel said. “We’ve got some nice talent in the younger classes, but it won’t mean anything without strong leadership from the upperclassmen. The players are getting their confidence up as they get to know each other.”

Junior Tiffany Perry, who scored a career-high 13 kills, was a catalyst offensively. Freshman Carrie DeMange and senior Tassy Rufai posted 10 kills each.

Although Duke played well offensively, a number of mistakes hampered its effort against No. 17/18 Loyola Marymount in the team’s season opener. Nagel said the Blue Devils were nervous and made a number of errors they would not have made in practice.

The most glaring problem was 14 service errors. Despite its problems, Duke came back from a 2-0 deficit to win the third game. The Blue Devils, however, could not maintain the momentum, surrendering a 25-24 lead in fourth game.

In another difficult matchup against Tennessee, ranked second in the SEC, the Blue Devils lost 3-0. Duke, however, kept all three games close, taking the lead at several points during the match. The Blue Devils eventually fell to the Lady Vols 27-30, 29-31, and 28-30. Tennessee went on to sweep Loyola Marymount to win the tournament.

Coach Nagel is confident when looking ahead to the rest of the team’s season.

“It helps us for sure to have a win under our belt, and we were close to getting two more,” she said. “We had to learn the hard way with teams that were less forgiving.”

The Blue Devils play Campbell in Bules Creek, N.C., at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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