Duke set a positive tone for the first of its two consecutive away trips as the Blue Devils bested both Maryland and Boston College on the road this weekend.
Duke (24-3, 17-1 in the ACC) took down the Terrapins (11-16, 4-14), 3-1, in College Park, Md. Friday night. The Blue Devils then traveled farther north to Chestnut Hill, Mass., where Duke finished strong, sweeping Boston College (10-17, 8-10) in three games Sunday.
The Blue Devils continue to hold their top spot in the conference with the trouncing of their two ACC opponents this weekend. With the two victories, Duke is halfway through an important road stretch of four games in eight days that accounts for four of its last six games of the season.
"We're really happy to get two wins on the road in the ACC and come home with that as we wind down the regular season," head coach Jolene Nagel said. "We're really excited. These road trips are not easy.. Being able to get those wins on the road just makes the travel not so bad."
Against Maryland Friday, Duke fell behind in game one. With the score at 27-14 in the Terrapins' favor, the Blue Devils went on a powerful 12-2 run to close the gap before the Terrapins held on for the 30-26 game win.
The run was not in vain as Duke carried over the momentum to handily defeat the Terrapins in games two and three. Battling point for point with Maryland in game four, the Blue Devils ultimately pulled ahead when it counted for a 30-28 win to seal the match.
Duke dominated offensively as four Blue Devils had double digits kills in the win. Sue Carls had a career- and match-high 17 kills-11 of them in game three alone-while Carrie DeMange, Tealle Hunkus and Rachael Moss followed with 16, 12 and 10, respectively.
Libero Jenny Shull had a tremendous night on the defensive end with 17 digs, bringing her season total to 505 and advancing her to number three on Duke's all-time dig list with 1,457 in her career.
In Boston Sunday, the Blue Devils took a little time to get going in the close, 30-26 game one victory. Once Duke did find its groove, however, there was no stopping the Blue Devils as they blew out the Eagles 30-19 and 30-11 in games two and three to secure the match victory.
"We started off a little slow again," Nagel said. "But then we settled down some and relaxed, and then we kicked into gear and then just seemed to get better as the match went on."
DeMange slammed down a team-high 15 kills off of Ali Hausfeld's 33 assists in the match. Sophomore Aana Wherry added three service aces, while Shull aced three of her own serves and anchored the defense with 12 digs.
Midway through their four-game road stretch, the pair of wins this weekend will be motivation for Duke as it travels to Virginia at the end of this week to take on Virginia and Virginia Tech. Virginia, which is currently second in the ACC, will challenge the Blue Devils for the top spot in the conference.
"We've got half of it done, then we're going to catch our breath, then we're going to go at it again for Thursday and Friday," Nagel said. "It just gives us a little encouragement and motivation to continue to get done what we need to get done for next weekend."
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