‘Canes down Duke in five-set thriller to keep win streak alive

The 'Canes celebrate during their match against Duke on Nov. 20 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Photo credit: Reagan Lunn

‘Canes volleyball left everything out on the floor as they defied all odds and saved seven match points to beat the Duke Blue Devils, 3-2, at Cameron Indoor Stadium for their sixth consecutive win.

In what was possibly the most evenly matched game of the year, there were 45 ties and 16 lead changes.

To begin the match, both teams made it clear that this was going to be a long affair as a backandforth first set ensued. Set one had four lead changes and nine ties as the two teams wound up deadlocked at 24-24. Duke claimed the next two points to squeak by the ‘Canes in the first set.

The second set was the most lopsided of the match. Miami trailed briefly before powering its way to a dominant 25-17 win.

With the match level once again, the crucial third set was a backandforth affair. The lead shifted four times over the course of the set but once again, the Blue Devils claimed the points that mattered when it counted most. They grabbed a commanding 2-1 lead by winning set three, 25-23.

With its backs against the wall, Miami played maybe the most nerve-wracking set of the season. With an unreal 18 tied scores and four lead changes, the ‘Canes saved seven match points, refusing to lose again and again. The score ran into the 30s before freshman outside hitter Flormarie Heredia Colon scored the necessary point to extend the match into a fifth set.

Despite the heartwrenching heroics of the ‘Canes to stay alive, the match was still not over. The Blue Devils were not fazed by their missed chances and jumped out to an early fifth-set lead. At 13-12, Duke only needed two more points to win the match, but the ‘Canes would go on a three-point run to steal the set and pick up the victory.

Senior Savannah Vach had her tenth double-double of the season as she recorded 43 assists and 17 digs. Angela Grieve followed up her career game on Friday with another dominant performance on the attacking side. She tallied 20 kills and 18 digs. Freshman Naylani Feliciano had a personal best performance as she collected 24 digs.

The ‘Canes have now won six straight matches and are streaking to the finish line of yet another successful season. The only foe left until tournament play begins is the Florida State Seminoles. The stakes are always high in rivalry games as the ‘Canes will look to avenge their narrow loss from earlier in the year.

First serve is Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Knight Sports Complex.