Oct. 10, 2008
ATLANTA – Becci Burling hit .500 with 18 kills and notched two blocks in the deciding set to help Duke (13-5, 4-2 ACC) hold off a late Georgia Tech comeback to win 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 20-25, 18-16) Friday night at O’Keefe Gym. With the loss, the Yellow Jackets fell to 11-5 on the season and 3-3 in the ACC.
The Jackets won the fourth set, 25-20, and jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the fifth set with 5.5 blocks through the first 14 points, but couldn’t hold on as the Blue Devils slowly whittled away at the six point advantage. Three straight kills pulled Duke to within three points at 10-7, and the Blue Devils eventually tied the set at 14-14 on a kill from Jourdan Norman. The Jackets would get their final advantage on a kill from Talisa Kellogg, making the score 15-14, but Duke finished off the match by winning four of the last five points, two of which came on errors by Tech.
The loss overshadowed brilliant performances by Yellow Jacket libero Michelle Kandell and defensive specialist Jordan McCullers, both of whom set career highs in digs on the night. Kandell notched 36 digs against the Blue Devils, which ties for second-most in school history for a single match, while McCullers tallied 18 on the evening. Kandell’s 36 digs also pushed the Tech senior into eighth place in the Yellow Jacket career record books, as she’s tallied 1,279 digs in her four years on the Flats.
Kellogg led a trio of Yellow Jackets in double figures in kills with 19 against the Blue Devils, but the offensive spark for Tech came from Callie Miller, who hit .353 with 16 kills while posting nine block assists out of the middle. Chrissy DeMichelis also finished the match in double figures, posting 12 kills against the Blue Devils.
With the first set tied at 15-15, Tech began to have problems with its passing as the Blue Devils scored six unanswered points to take control of the frame. Duke held on for the 25-21 win behind Burling, who notched five kills on six attempts while posting three block assists in the frame.
After giving up a 10-2 run that gave the Blue Devils a 19-14 lead in the second set, Georgia Tech climbed back into the match with a 6-2 run of its own to pull within one point at 21-20 and then finished off the frame by winning five-straight points to even the match at 1-1. The Yellow Jackets benefitted from a pair of attacking error by the Blue Devil hitters while DeMichelis came up big with a kill and block assists during the late 5-0 run.
Burling continued her excellent play in the third set, leading Duke to a 25-22 win with five kills on seven attempts. Sophia Duckworth added four kills for the Blue Devils, including one during Duke’s 3-0 run to end the set after the Yellow Jackets tied the frame at 22-22 on a kill by Miller. Duckworth finished the match with 15 kills and four blocks.
The Jackets jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth set and never looked back, tying the match at 2-2 with a 25-20 victory. Kellogg logged four kills on eight swings and Miller added three block assists to pace the Jackets in the frame. Kandell also tallied six digs to bring her match total to 29 while McCullers led all players with seven digs in the frame.
The Yellow Jackets will host Wake Forest Saturday evening following Tech’s football game against Gardner Webb. The match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at O’Keefe Gym and can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) while live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.