With the score tied at 34 in a grueling, back-and-forth battle, the Blue Devils rose above Wake Forest with two clutch kills to notch the decisive second-game win in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke's game-two victory was indicative of its overall performance Tuesday night, as the Blue Devils (22-3, 15-1 in the ACC) took control and shut out the Demon Deacons (13-12, 9-7) in three games for the match win.
With the victory, Duke extends its home win streak to 29 and continues to hold on to its top spot in the conference.
"That was a key thing for us to get that [second] game," head coach Jolene Nagel said. "We're really excited to get one more win in the ACC for sure.. The team did a great job of executing tonight and playing together."
The Blue Devils started the night out strong, blowing out Wake Forest with a 30-14 win. Leading the Demon Deacons 23-14 in game one, Duke went on a 7-0 run to finish up the scoring and secure the victory.
The second game, however, proved to be more of a challenge. After trading point for point the entire game, a Wake Forest kill at 29-28 notched the score and ruined Duke's chance to end the game at 30.
Instead, both teams refused to back down, trading timely kills to avoid defeat. Neither Duke nor Wake Forest managed to string together two uninterrupted points-until freshman Rachael Moss finally slammed home two kills for the 36-34 victory.
In what was the turning point of the match, the Blue Devils gained the energy and 2-0 lead they needed to finish up the Demon Deacons with the hard-fought victory.
"We had to come out intense, and we did," senior Tealle Hunkus said. "It's definitely a momentum shift, and especially a game 36-34-any game like that-is energy going into the locker room between games two and three, so it's a key game."
The Blue Devils kept the momentum rolling and never trailed in the third game. Changing up the rotation, several Duke reserves took to the court as the Blue Devils bested Wake Forest 30-23 to seal the match.
Hunkus led the Blue Devils with a match-high 18 kills, while Moss and junior Carrie DeMange added another 15 and 11 kills, respectively. Hausfeld set up the offense with a match-high 51 assists while adding five kills of her own on the way to the victory.
On defense, the Blue Devils had to make some adjustments to battle a Wake Forest attack that kept floating softly-hit tips over the hands of Duke blockers. Anchoring the defense with a match-high 31 digs, junior Jenny Shull said she adapted to the Demon Deacon strategy.
"You just have to make the extra effort to talk to your teammate and both go for it," Shull said. "It comes a lot with communication, because [the tips] are in between two people, and when that happens, you look to your teammate and say, 'We're talking on the next one, we're both going, then we'll call each other off.'"
The home win over Wake Forest is an important victory, as Duke travels to Maryland and Boston College this weekend to start a stretch of two consecutive weekends on the road. Duke's only conference loss of the season was on the road against Georgia Tech Oct. 27.
"We're just happy to get one because the league is tough," Nagel said. "It's a long season and now we're hitting the road, so we're happy to be sent off with a win."
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