On Senior Day at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke managed to mirror last Thursday's 3-1 win against then-No. 3 Florida State and send Notre Dame back to Indiana with a 0-11 road record.
The Blue Devils now face a road stretch of their own against Louisville, North Carolina and N.C. State to end the regular season. But that preparation will momentarily take a backseat to celebrate the contributions and departure of Duke's two key seniors—setter Kelsey Williams and outside hitter Jeme Obeime.
“We’re really proud of them and we love them and we just want to wish them the best, but we really want this to be a great day for them and getting the win certainly helps us in that," head coach Jolene Nagel said. "[We’re] going to catch our breath and we’re going to start to think about how we can move forward to prepare for these big road matches."
Williams finished the game with a 45 assists, one block assist and seven digs. Obeime registered eight kills on 29 total attempts, three digs, four block assists and the only solo block of the game for Duke (20-6, 12-3 in the ACC).
The Blue Devils dominated in the first set, holding Notre Dame (6-20, 3-12) to just 15 points despite seven separate ties and an early lead change.
The Fighting Irish managed to pull away in the second set and fend off a late charge from Duke to end the set with a score of 25-23.
Despite its set victory, Notre Dame's stamina was running low by the third and fourth sets, as it earned most of its points off attack errors. The Fighting Irish were held to 19 and 20 points in the final two sets.
Notre Dame was led by its senior middle blocker Jeni Houser, who recorded 13 kills on 32 total attempts. But through it all, Williams and Obeime were able to lead and communicate effectively on the court to secure the win.
“It’s tremendous and they want to do whatever can make the team be successful," Nagel said. "Their contributions have been plenty. They’ve been great students while they’ve been here. They’ve been great ambassadors for Duke Volleyball and in the community, as well as setting great examples. I couldn’t be more proud of them and they’ve set a very high standard of what Duke Volleyball is all about.”
Sunday's contest was clearly more than just a game for the two seniors, as both concluded their time spent playing in front of their own Cameron Crazies. Although the Blue Devils still have three games left in the regular season and the ACC tournament to prepare for following their contest against the Wolfpack, Senior Day was an emotional day at Cameron, filled with support for the seniors and the dedication they displayed to Duke.
Obeime has been a standout in her four years and ranks second on the team in kills per set with 3.27—she still has time to surpass her career-high mark of 3.30 posted in 2013. But after the game, she was less concerned with career statistics and more reflective on her time served as a teammate and leader.
"I’ve been more focused on how I can make my teammates better," Obeime said. "I hope they remember [me] for the person I was off the court. They’re not going to remember any stats or any plays that I made, but [I hope] when they think of me and when new players come in, they think of Jeme Obeime as a good teammate and a good friend.”
The Blue Devils will face Louisville Nov. 21 at the Cardinal Arena at 6 p.m. to begin the final stretch of their regular season.
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