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Volleyball Drops Five-Set Heartbreaker To Duke

Oct. 24, 2009

Box Score

ATLANTA – Junior Mary Ashley Tippins and freshman Monique Mead each had double-doubles, but it was not enough as the Duke Volleyball team (19-4, 9-2 ACC) came from behind to edge Georgia Tech (14-7, 8-3), 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11) Saturday night at O’Keefe Gym. On “Dig for the Cure” night, the Yellow Jackets recorded 76 digs to help raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The Yellow Jackets were up 2-1 in the match and had an 18-12 lead in the fourth set only to see Duke come charging back for the second straight night. It was Tech’s first loss at home this season in 12 matches.

“I’m very disappointed in how we finished tonight,” said head coach Tonya Johnson. “We were in a position to win the match in the fourth set and could not put Duke away. In rally scoring, its all about momentum and Duke took it into the fifth set. Now, we need to learn from this and come back strong next weekend. There’s a lot of season left and we need to take care of our business to stay in the hunt.”

Senior Chrissy DeMichelis hit .293 on the night en route to a team-high 19 kills. Mead recorded her team-high seventh double-double of the season on 13 kills and 10 digs. Tippins had her double-double on 53 assists and 14 digs to go along with three service aces. Sophomore Bailey Hunter had 12 kills for her 18th straight match with at least 10 and senior Brittany Roderick added 10 kills for Tech on .529 hitting. Junior Jordan McCullers posted a team-high 21 digs, while freshman Hannah Tucci had 12.

The Yellow Jackets led by three points early in the first set, but Duke battled back to tie it at 11. The Blue Devils soon took their largest lead of the set at two points, 16-14, and forced a Tech timeout. Duke got the lead up to three points before Tech started to chip away. The Jackets got within a point at 18-17, but Duke responded to take a 22-18 lead and forced the Jackets’ last timeout. Georgia Tech responded with three straight points making the score 22-21 and this time it was Duke calling for time. The Blue Devils had set point at 24-22. A kill by Mead brought the Jackets within a point, but Duke was able to close out the set on the next point and win 25-23. DeMichelis had five kills for Tech in the set, while Mead had four. Tech hit .281 compared to Duke’s .333.

The Yellow Jackets raced out to a 5-0 lead in the second set. Duke battled back to within two points at 7-5, but four straight points by the Jackets gave them an 11-5 lead and forced Duke to burn a timeout. Duke got within a point later in the set at 16-15, but a 7-2 run gave the Jackets a 23-17 lead. Duke reeled off three straight to get within three points but the Jackets held on for a 25-21 win and evened the match at one. DeMichelis had six more kills for the Jackets on .600 hitting.

It was 5-5 in the third set when Georgia Tech went on a 6-1 run to take an 11-6 advantage which forced a Duke timeout. Following the timeout, Tech reeled off two more points before Duke began to chip away. The Blue Devils got within five, but three consecutive points by Tech made it a 16-8 game and caused another Blue Devil timeout. The Jackets got their lead up to as much as seven points before Duke tried to make a late charge. The Blue Devils got within three points a couple of times, but the Jackets were able to hold on for the 25-19 win and take a 2-1 lead in the match. DeMichelis and Stawicka had three kills apiece to pace the Jackets.

In the fourth set, Georgia Tech led 18-12 before Duke came storming back. An 8-1 run by the Blue Devils tied the set at 19 before a Mead kill gave Tech the lead back. Two more quick points by the Blue Devils gave them their first lead since it was 1-0 and Georgia Tech was forced to call timeout. A block by Mead and Stawicka followed by another DeMichelis kill gave the Jackets the lead back again at 22-21 as it was Duke’s turn to call for time.

Following the timeout, the Jackets led 23-22 but three straight points by Duke to end the set completed the come-back and sent the match to a fifth and deciding set. Overall, it was a 13-5 run that the Blue Devils closed out on. DeMichelis (5) and Mead (4) combined for nine kills in the set.

Tech led by two points early in the fifth set, but Duke came back and took its largest lead at 9-7. The Blue Devils got their lead up to four points at 12-8 before consecutive points by the Yellow Jackets got them within two and forced a Duke timeout. That would be as close as they would get, however, as Duke went on to win 15-11.

Georgia Tech will head right back out on the road to continue its six out of eight match swing away from home next weekend in North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets will face North Carolina on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. and then NC State on Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. Live stats for both matches will be available at www.RamblinWreck.com.

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