Duke hands FSU first loss of season for program's first win vs. top-five team
DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke handed No. 3 Florida State its first loss of the 2014 campaign, defeating the Seminoles 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-21) on Thursday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The victory was Duke’s second against a ranked team this season and first against a top-five team in program history.
Outside hitters Jeme Obeime and Emily Sklar paced a Blue Devil offense which knocked down 63 kills to the Seminoles’ 51. Obeime had at least four kills in all four frames, totaling a match-high 18. Sklar recorded her team-leading ninth double-double with 17 kills and 12 digs.
Duke (19-6, 11-3 ACC) also turned in a solid team defensive effort as four Blue Devils surpassed 10 digs. The Blue Devils limited Florida State (24-1, 12-1 ACC) to a .177 hitting percentage, marking just the third time FSU has hit under .200 this season.
“It was a tremendous team effort, not only on the court but also on the sideline,” head coach Jolene Nagel said. “Our team played great, one point at a time. We’ve worked really hard and had some disappointments, but certainly rose to the occasion tonight.
Setter Kelsey Williams paced the Blue Devils with 17 digs. A senior from Pleasanton, Calif., she dished out 46 assists as well, good for her eighth double-double. Libero Sasha Karelov added 14 digs while defensive specialist Chloe DiPasquale had 10.
Duke received key contributions from sophomore middle blocker tandem Jordan Tucker and Alyse Whitaker. Tucker totaled seven kills and a match-high six blocks, while Whitaker recorded 11 kills and three blocks.
Rightside hitter Christina Vucich turned in a solid performance with a season-high-tying seven kills to go along with four blocks.
“Our block stayed patient and got some good touches,” Nagel said. “We took advantage of our opportunities tonight and controlled the ball really well on our first touches.”
Entering the match on a program-best, 24-match win streak, Florida State wasted little time establishing an early five-point lead in the first set. Duke clawed back to tie the score at 17-17, but FSU countered with a 3-0 spurt. The Blue Devils committed four errors down the stretch and the Seminoles secured a 25-20 decision.
After totaling 13 kills in the opening frame, Duke amassed 19 in the second to pick up the 25-20 win. Sklar added six kills and Obeime had five to lead the way. Up 17-11 following a Whitaker and Vucich block, Duke saw its lead slip to 21-18 late. A kill from Williams coupled with an FSU error gave the Blue Devils some breathing room, 22-18. Obeime accounted for Duke’s final three points, sending down three kills to finish off the frame.
The Blue Devils found their rhythm in the third set, knocking down 19 kills on .361 hitting. A Sklar kill gave Duke a 16-12 cushion, but Florida State would score the next four points to even things up. Down 20-19, the Blue Devils rattled off five straight kills -- three from Obeime, one from Sklar and one from Vucich -- to establish set point. An FSU ball handling error completed the set, a 25-21 victory for the Blue Devils.
Florida State led the fourth set 3-1 before Duke posted a 5-1 run. The Blue Devils would not trail the rest of the way. A Sklar kill established a 16-10 Duke advantage. Florida State answered with a 3-0 run before a Whitaker kill ended the rally. FSU trimmed the deficit to 23-20 prior to a Seminole service error. Sklar dropped her 17th kill to clinch the fourth set, 25-21, and the match.
Katie Horton led Florida State with 12 kills, while Kiara Wright added 10.