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VB: Wolfpack comes up short at No. 15 Duke, 3-1

Posted November 27, 2013

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The NC State women’s volleyball team's comeback against 15th-ranked Duke fell short Wednesday afternoon, 3-1 (25-20, 25-14, 20-25, 25-18), inside Cameron Indoor Stadium. With the loss, State falls to 20-11 overall and 11-8 in Atlantic Coast Conference competition, while Duke improves to 26-4 overall and 17-2 in the ACC.

“We had some good moments where we played really well in the match,” said head coach Bryan Bunn. “We let up in the second set, but we fought to win the third set and showed a lot more energy and heart today than we have in our last few matches.”

Junior Rachel Buckley registered a team-high 11 kills for the Wolfpack, while senior Brie Merriwether had 11. Defensively, Rachel Eppley led the charge with 15 digs. Juniors Dariyan Hopper and Nikki Glass, along with sophomore Tanna Aljoe all recorded 12 digs in the effort. Aljoe also dished out 20 assists in the contest to record her seventh double-double of the season.

The first set was evenly played at the outset of the match until the Blue Devils gained control with a three-point lead, 9-6. State rebounded to tie the frame at 15, but Duke won five of the next six points on its way to winning the first set, 25-20.

Duke opened the second set on a 5-0 run. State rallied to trim the lead to four, before the Blue Devils extended their lead and captured the set, 25-14.

State got off to a strong start in the third set, as the Pack recorded the first two points of the frame, but the Blue Devils came back to take an 8-3 lead. The Pack countered with a 9-2 run to take a 12-10 lead in the set. Buckley headlined the Pack's strong play in the latter portions of the set, as she smacked five consecutive kills to propel State to a 25-20 victory. In the frame, the Pack recorded a hitting percentage of .293 and limited the Duke attack to .091.

“I told the team that we’re better than the way we played in the first two sets,” Bunn added. “We needed to get locked in and engaged in the third set and that’s what we did.”

In the fourth set, the Wolfpack fell behind early, 7-2, but responded with a 7-2 run of its own to tie the score at nine. Duke would take seven of the next 10 points and prevail in the set, 25-18.

The Wolfpack will conclude the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 30 when it travels to Wake Forest. First serve is slated for 2 p.m.

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