With three straight losses at Cameron Indoor Stadium coming into the contest, the Blue Devils sought to fix their recent home struggles.
Unfortunately for Duke, No. 23 Florida State would make it four straight defeats for the Blue Devils on their home court Friday evening.
Duke’s difficulties in Durham continued, as the Seminoles utilized the momentum generated from an intense first set to ensure a 3-1 road victory (25-27, 21-25, 25-23, 15-25). Despite the resolve shown by the Blue Devils throughout the matchup, the mistakes made by Duke eventually cost them against a talented Florida State team.
In a thrilling opening set that featured multiple momentum shifts, the Blue Devils battled back from a 24-22 deficit only to see Florida State take three consecutive points to secure the early lead. This gave the early advantage to the Seminoles and Duke was unable to bounce back.
“I feel like for those first two sets, it was our errors that allowed them to take that lead," Blue Devil head coach Jolene Nagel said. "We were setting some pretty good blocks, we were getting some big touches, we were able to get some easy balls to target, but we had some hitting errors along the way. I think those hitting errors made our lives a lot harder trying to fight and stay in that set. I think if we could minimize those and get our offense going a little bit we would have been fine because we were doing a great job on the blocking defense.”
Though Duke displayed a needed sense of urgency in the third set, the Seminoles wrapped it up with a comfortable 25-15 victory in the fourth set.
Throughout the match, Duke (7-7, 0-1 in the ACC) found success with cross court spikes, forcing the center of the Seminoles’ formation to adjust and counter. The Blue Devils showed improvement from earlier in the season with regards to their offensive motion.
Duke’s crisp passing and communication were undone by costly errors early on, including seventeen hitting errors in the first two sets. Florida State (7-3, 1-0) consistently took advantage of these mistakes, seizing control of the match.
Duke was able to disrupt the Seminoles offense with an effective blocking strategy at times, resulting in seven total team blocks in the contest. The unselfish movement shown early on by the Blue Devils led to a 20.7 percent attack rate for the match.
However, Florida State countered with 9.5 blocks of their own and a few fortunate bounces gave the Seminoles the advantage. The young Blue Devils displayed some chemistry, a good sign for the remainder of ACC play.
“I think that we were passing really well early on in that match and they are a good team," Nagel said. "That is encouraging to see because we have a lot of young players out there. We were getting some great blocks up there and good touches so we could get some digs and transition but we have to continue to work offensively to make sure we are using everybody as optimally as we can in the different situations."
Next up for the Blue Devils is another home ACC tilt, this time around against Miami Sunday.
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Max Rego is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor for The Chronicle's 117th volume.