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Blue Devils earn automatic bid to 2013 NCAA Championship
GREENSBORO, N.C. (TheACC.com) – The Duke women’s volleyball program clinched the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title on Friday afternoon and earned an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Championship.
The title marks the 11th occasion in which the Blue Devils have taken home the conference crown and is the program’s first since 2010.
For coach Jolene Nagel, she has now guided Duke to a total of four titles – three outright (2006, 2010, 2013) and one co-championship (2008) – during her 15 years at the helm of Blue Devils.
The title did not come easy for No. 15 Duke (27-4, 18-2), as it needed a home victory against in-state rival No. 14 North Carolina (27-4, 16-4) to lock up the championship. However, a loss would have opened the door for No. 16 Florida State (23-7, 17-3) or the visiting Tar Heels to grab the conference title and the automatic bid.
North Carolina went toe-to-toe with Duke in the opening two sets of the match, with each team earning a set apiece. In the third set, the Tar Heels earned a 25-22 win, as they looked to have the home team on the ropes.
Down 2-1 and trailing 22-14 in the fourth set, the Blue Devils tallied 10 of the match’s next 11 points to capture the set, 25-23, to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
In the final set, North Carolina pushed Duke to the brink yet again, as they held a match point opportunity with a lead of 16-15, but the Blue Devils came from behind yet again.
After a kill by Duke’s Emily Sklar set the match at 16-16, the Blue Devils made their final push for the title. Three separate match point opportunities came and went for Duke, but with the match in its favor at 20-19, Elizabeth Campbell notched the match-winning and title-clinching kill to give the Blue Devils the thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 (17-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 21-19) victory.
The full 64-team field for the 2013 NCAA Volleyball Championship will be announced live on ESPNU on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 9:30 p.m.
Following the selection show, fans can find the latest on pairings, brackets and matchups involving ACC teams on the TheACC.com.