Volleyball, Fall, Sports

BC Takes Down Blue Devils in Five-Set Thriller

Before Friday’s matchup, the last two times that Boston College volleyball took the court against Duke, both contests were decided in five sets with each team winning at home. On Friday, BC hosted the Blue Devils in the Margot Connell Recreation Center and maintained that trend as it won its second straight ACC matchup. 

The Eagles (14–7, 3–4 Atlantic Coast) showed their grit on the defensive end against Duke (11–7, 2–5) and finished with a 3–2 victory by scores of 25–14, 25–21, 25–16, 25–14, and 15-13. The game marked the third straight five-set match with the two programs.

“We’re fortunate in this building against them,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said. “They’ve got us down there, but we only get them once this year, and happy to get them here.”

From the beginning of the match, the Eagles appeared overwhelmed by Duke’s style of play. The Blue Devils exhibited strategic and accurate passing which set up their hitters to do damage against BC’s defense, giving them an early 8–3 advantage in the first set. 

BC also displayed smooth passing and created multiple scoring opportunities in the first set, but the Blue Devils proved to be too quick on the defensive end by matching up their blockers against BC’s hitters. In the first set alone, the Blue Devils collected four blocks and 22 digs to spoil attacks by the Eagles. 

While BC created many chances, it handed Duke points on a platter with seven attacking errors in the first set. After going down 8–3, the Eagles could not get anything going and ultimately lost the first set by 11 points.

“That first set got away from us really quick,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think we really executed very well.”

The second set was much more competitive. Duke went on a 5–0 run to open the set and just as it looked like it would fade, the Eagles showed their resilience, going on a 6–0 run of their own to take the lead. 

“I think we started talking last week and about having a pretty short-term memory, ” Kennedy said. “You go through a match like this, you’re gonna lose maybe 80 points, and maybe you’re gonna win 100. So, you’re gonna have 80 things not go your way.”

Attacking errors on Duke’s side significantly affected the outcome of the second set. After only two attacking errors in the first set, the Blue Devils tallied 14 in the second. 

Both teams continued to trade blows in the second set until the Eagles went on a 4–0 run after a Julia Haggerty kill and three attacking errors. From that point on, the Eagles never looked back in the set. Duke continued to make it difficult with their defensive prowess and blocking, but BC finished off the set with a four-point victory to even up the contest at one set apiece. 

BC kicked off the third set with high energy and oozing confidence thanks to two aces from Sophia Lambros and a service error by the Blue Devils that put the Eagles up 3–0. Everything was going right for the Eagles, who took advantage of more Duke blunders on the offensive end and scored more frequently off their attacks. Duke did not threaten the lead, as BC added another set victory in blowout fashion. 

The fourth set was the polar opposite. Duke’s blockers completely dominated, and the Blue Devils came out victorious in a 25–14 set win to send the battle into a fifth and final set. 

“They changed their lineup quite a bit I thought in set four, ” Kennedy said. “So they kind of crept up on us a little bit.”

The Eagles showed their resilience once again, trading points with Duke in a nail-biting final set. With a 14–10 lead, BC then gave up three straight points to the Blue Devils to bring them right back into the game. 

In the final play, Haggerty, who ended the game with nine kills and a hit percentage of .533, rose up and blocked a Duke attack, leading to another attacking error from the Blue Devils, and ending the match with a 3–2 BC victory. 

“That’s an exciting one for us to get, ” Kennedy said, “She took over the match. We didn’t know who was gonna score for us so we just said we’re gonna put Julia at left front.”

October 14, 2023