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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (17-12, 12-8 ACC) returns home this week for its final matches of the season. The Cavaliers will battle 24th-ranked and defending conference champion Duke (22-6, 17-3 ACC) at 7 p.m. Wednesday before closing out the 07 campaign at 7 p.m. Friday against Wake Forest (8-21, 5-15 ACC).

This week marks the final matches in a Virginia uniform for four UVa seniors: libero Melissa Caldwell (Houston, Texas), outside hitter Sarah Kirkwood (Tampa, Fla.), middle Katie Oakes (Lorton, Va.) and defensive specialist Taylor Russo (Tampa, Fla.).

Entering the final two matches, the 07 seniors have compiled a 79-42 record over the last four years. That mark includes a 43-12 record in the friendly confines of Memorial Gymnasium.

Wednesday, Nov. 21 vs. Duke
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Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Wake Forest
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Against Duke: Duke leads 35-13
Last Meeting: Oct. 20 in Durham, N.C.
Result: Duke, 3-2

Against Wake Forest: Virginia leads 17-15
Last Meeting: Oct. 19 in Winstom-Salem, N.C.
Result: Virginia, 3-1

Melissa Caldwell broke Virginia’s 16 year-old program record for career digs last Friday at Maryland. The Houston native needed 15 digs entering the match to tie the mark and finished a team-best 21 to replace former Cavalier Anne Marie Hammers (1988-92) at the top of the list. Entering her final two matches, Caldwell, who continues to hold the program’s digs per game mark (4.373) has tallied 1,916 digs in her four years.

Katie Oakes, who ranks among the top 10 in every one of the blocking categories, is nearing another career mark: 1,000 kills. Entering the final two matches of the season, Oakes has 986 career kills, just 14 shy of reaching 1,000. Only 11 players have achieved that feat at Virginia. Among them is Oakes’ teammate Sarah Kirkwood, who holds the all-time mark with 1,878 career kills.

Third year Shannon Davis and first year Kelly Irvin have also recently made their way onto top 10 career lists.

Davis, who already ranked among the program leaders in blocks per game, has snuck onto the total blocks and block solos list. The Austin, Texas, native is10th with 311 career blocks and ranks ninth with 255 block assists. Davis needs just five more swats to move into a tie for ninth place on the blocks solo list.

In just her freshman campaign, Irvin has already moved onto the career assists list. The California native has tallied 951 assists this season. Should she reach 1,000, she would be just the 10th person in program history to accumulate 1,000 career assists.

Virginia’s Sarah Kirkwood was selected as one of 15 finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship, an award that provides all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.

The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest and best-known award for international study, were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer. Criteria for applicants include high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.

Kirkwood, a native of Tampa, Fla., was chosen as a finalist from District 7. The fourth-year Lawn resident has a 3.9 grade-point average in cognitive science/pre-medicine at UVa and is scheduled to graduate in May. Kirkwood was considering pursuit of a master’s degree in neuroscience at Oxford.

Several Cavaliers rank among the top 10 in the latest statistical reports from the ACC, released Monday, Nov. 19. Sarah Kirkwood ranks second in points, averaging 5.21 ppg, a mark that trails only Carrie DeMange of Duke. The Florida native also is third in kills, averaging 4.46 per game.

Kirkwood (third, 0.53 aces per game) and A.J. Cushman (10th, 0.36 apg) are among the top 10 in service aces. Melissa Caldwell is seventh among the ACC leaders with 4.54 dpg and Katie Oakes stands 10th in blocks, averaging 1.19 bpg. Additionally, rookie Kelly Irvin also claims 10th on the assists list with 8.49 apg.

Virginia is 13-2 this season after taking the first game. Both of the losses were in five games (at 17th-ranked Duke, home against Georgia Tech). In contrast, the squad is 3-9 when dropping game one to its opponent. The Cavaliers have won the first game of the match in 12 of their last 15 contests.

The Cavaliers split its matches last weekend, defeating Maryland 3-1 Friday before losing at Boston College in five games, 3-2. Against the Terps, Melissa Caldwell finished with 21 digs to break the career digs record. Katie Oakes and Shannon Davis led the attacking efforts with 18 kills apiece.

On Saturday, Virginia lost 15-12 in the deciding fifth game to the Eagles. Caldwell tallied 24 digs in the loss, while Oakes and first year Kendahl Voelker each recorded 18 kills.

The Cavaliers played without All-American Sarah Kirkwood last weekend, who was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship and interviewing in Birmingham, Ala.

No. 24 Duke currently stands in second place in the ACC standings behind Clemson. The Blue Devils are 17-3 in league play and 22-6 overall.

Duke is led by Carrie DeMange, who leads the conference in kills per game (5.01) and points per game (5.71). Other league leaders on the Blue Devil squad include setter Ali Hausfeld, who is first with 14.17 assists per game and Jourdan Norman, whose .410 hitting percentage is tied for the highest among conference players. Norman also ranks fifth in blocks (1.36 bpg) while Jenny Shull’s 5.39 digs per game ranks second. Teammate Rachel Moss additionally ranks among the top 10 in kills (fourth, 4.12 kpg) and service aces (sixth, 0.39 apg).

Virginia pushed then-No. 17 Duke to the limit but fell in the decisive fifth game 17-15 on the road in Durham. Sarah Kirkwood led the way for the Cavaliers with 22 kills off 60 attacks for a .300 hitting percentage, while Melissa Caldwell added a season-high 36 digs. UVa combined for nine service aces against the Blue Devils, the most any team had notched against Duke this season. Game scores were 30-18, 19-30, 19-30, 30-26 and 15-17.

Virginia tallied its first win since 1996 over a ranked opponent when the Cavalier squad knocked off No. 24 Clemson at home Nov. 2. Virginia is 1-2 this season vs. ranked foes, losing both matches on the road to then-No. 18 San Diego and then-No. 17 Duke earlier in the year.

Wake Forest is 11th in the conference heading into the final weekend of play with an ACC record of 5-15 and an overall mark of 8-21.

The Demon Deacons are led by Natalie Millikin’s 3.99 kills per game, a mark that is good enough for fifth among league players. Millikin also ranks seventh in blocks (1.27 bpg), seventh in hitting percentage (.326) and fifth in points (4.84 ppg). Megan Thornberry helps pace the defensive effort averaging 4.15 digs per game.

The Virginia volleyball team (13-7, 8-3 ACC) downed Wake Forest 3-1 on the road Oct. 19. Game scores were 30-28, 31-29, 19-30 and 30-24. Fourth year Melissa Caldwell paced the Cavaliers with a match-high 21 digs.

Sarah Kirkwood and Kendahl Voelker tallied 15 and 12 digs, respectively, while Katie Oakes finished with nine and Shannon Davis added eight. Kelly Irvin recorded 40 assists for Virginia in the winning effort.

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