VOLLEYBALL: Blue Devils Down BC In Narrow Upset
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
On Friday, Power Gym in Conte Forum was buzzing with energy. It was a full house as fans watched to see if the Boston College volleyball team could defeat Duke’s Blue Devils once again. It was not long ago, on Oct. 6, that the Eagles swept the Blue Devils in three sets down in Durham, N.C.
The Eagles were unable to repeat their victory on Friday, however, and they lost the match to Duke 3-2. It was an upsetting loss, and a surprising one as well, as the Eagles had come out strong in the first two sets.
In the first set, BC gained a commanding early lead and held on to it until the end of the set. When Duke called its first timeout, BC was already leading 8-4 and when BC called its first timeout, the lead had grown to 22-17.
At the end of the set, there was a moment of pressure as Duke cut BC’s lead to only one point. Yet BC senior Krystle Higgins responded and quickly scored with an impressive spike. The Eagles won the first set 25-21.
In the second set, Duke seemed to gain some energy that had appeared to be lacking during the first set. The Blue Devils had an early 8-6 lead, but it was quickly met and surpassed by the Eagles.
It was a close set, and similar to the first, there was a tense moment at the end when the teams were tied 23-23. Due to a Duke serving error, the score went to 24-23. Then, almost instantly, Duke scored and it was tied up again at 24-24. Another serving error by Duke brought it to 25-24. The Eagles did not miss a beat, using this opportunity to score and win the set 26-24.
After a brief 10-minute intermission in which the crowd was entertained by “minute-to-win-it games,” the energy was palpable once again in the Power Gym.
In the third set, Duke’s energy continued to grow, and the Eagles’ energy seemed to fade. The Blue Devils gained an early lead that they were able to hold on to for the entire set, ultimately winning the set 25-19.
BC still maintained a 2-1 advantage going into the fourth set. Duke seemed to be riding the adrenaline they had gained from their victory in the third set, and they used it to gain another early lead over the Eagles. By the time BC called its first timeout, the Blue Devils were already leading 11-7.
Although BC’s energy seemed to be lessening, there were impressive moments for the Eagles during the fourth set. One in particular was an amazing save by freshman Katty Workman to keep the ball in bounds, and it led to a nearly picture-perfect spike for Higgins to score.
After another timeout, Duke’s lead continued to climb to 20-12. The Blue Devils won the fourth set 25-15, and the match carried on into the fifth set.
The fifth set seemed to start differently for the Eagles than the previous two had. They appeared to be more energetic, and they were able to gain an early lead over the Blue Devils. Whatever energy there was soon evaporated, however, because Duke quickly surpassed the Eagles’ lead. At the halfway mark, when the two teams switched sides, the Blue Devils were leading BC 8-4.
Duke was able to maintain its strong lead throughout the rest of the set, winning the final set 15-5. Duke came back from being down by two to win the match 3-2.
This loss was particularly difficult for the Eagles, especially after sweeping the Blue Devils in Durham, winning the match in three sets.
When asked what made this meeting between the two teams different from the last, head coach Chris Campbell attributed it to a “Loss of focus and poor decisions at poor times, and the players seemed to be too comfortable.
“Duke is not a team that is going to roll over,” he said. “They are a competitive team, and this will be a tough one to bounce back from.”
Despite the disappointing results, the Eagles still put up impressive numbers. Workman had 21 kills and 15 digs. In addition, Higgins had 15 kills. Freshman libero Franny Hock also gave a notable performance with her match-high 23 digs. This was the third time this season in which she has had more than 20 digs.