After a week off that followed a jam-packed stretch to open ACC play, the Blue Devils will now get back to game action.

No. 17 Duke is set to host Wake Forest at Koskinen Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday after being on the road for three of its first four conference matchups. All-time, the Blue Devils hold a 9-1-2 mark against Wake Forest at home, and a victory could propel them through the latter half of the ACC season.

Duke will play four of its final six regular-season games against teams that were either ranked or received votes this week. 

“We are excited to be home," head coach Robbie Church said. "We have a very good record at home, [and] I feel we have an advantage here, which would be really nice against a good Wake Forest team.”

It is a high-pressure game as the Demon Deacons (6-4-1, 2-2-0 in the ACC) will try to capitalize on their present form against a Duke side that drew a match with then-No. 21 N.C. State. Wake Forest knocked off both 11th-ranked Boston College and the Wolfpack in nail-biting matches, but was blown out at No. 8 Virginia this past weekend.

The Blue Devils (8-2-2, 2-1-1) are anticipating a stronger group of Demon Deacons than when they faced them last—a 2016 contest that went Duke's way by a 1-0 margin.

“Wake Forest has a very good resume and we are expecting an aggressive and physical game," Church said. "It is a team that does a really good job in both the boxes, so we need to be really clean in the defensive and final third. We need to be sharp in the attacking third, which we haven’t been lately, and we have been working hard in order to improve that area for the last two days.”

Much of that attacking play will come from senior forward Kayla McCoy, who leads the team in points, shots and is tied for a team-high with five goals.

“Kayla is one of the best forwards in the country, and we will try to get her the maximum number of touches as we can," Church said. "She is a good passer, she sets up players, she scores goals herself and we just need to find her in the right spaces."

The match is critical for Duke’s confidence—after getting six points to begin conference play, the Blue Devils earned just one more against the Cavaliers and N.C. State, leaving them in the middle of a crowded ACC pack. 

A win would also mark No. 390 in the program's history, bringing Duke closer to a milestone 400th.

But with an uber-competitive ACC this year and a handful of recent struggles, the Blue Devils can't afford to focus on anything beyond the game in front of them.

“Those are all in the past and have nothing to do with where we are now. If you look at our standings, only North Carolina has taken off to the top and everyone else is like 3-1, 2-1-1," Church said. "The three points that you get are really important as they flush away if you go up or if you go down and they would decide the standings of the 11 teams.

"We have to go out and make it happen tomorrow night. It is a big turning-point time of the year as we have two home ACC home matches and we have to take each match one at a time, but I think this is a huge week for us.”