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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia volleyball team (17-13, 12-9 ACC) dropped a 3-1 hard-fought battle with 24th-ranked Duke Wednesday at Memorial Gymnasium. Fourth year Sarah Kirkwood led four Cavaliers with double-figure kills, finishing with 18. Game scores were 20-30, 30-26, 28-30 and 24-30.

“We played hard tonight,” Melissa Aldrich Shelton, Virginia head coach, said. “If some rallies would have fallen our way there might have been a different outcome. But we played hard.”

Third year Shannon Davis tallied 14 kills while rookie Kendahl Voelker added 13 to the attacking effort. Fourth year Katie Oakes recorded 10 and is just four shy of reaching her 1,000th career kills. Kelly Irvin finished with 51 assists.

Defensively, three players reached double digit digs, led by Melissa Caldwell and Kirkwood, who each tallied 13. First year A.J. Cushman chipped in 11. Oakes also finished with a team-best six blocks and Voelker added four.

Duke (23-6, 18-3) hit .414 in the first game, a 30-20 win, compared to just .176 for Virginia. Though the Blue Devils recorded another solid percentage of .410 in the second game, the Cavaliers were able to prevail in a contest that saw four lead changes and nine tied scores. Virginia improved in game two with a .286 percentage.

The Blue Devils pulled out game three despite hitting .196 and finished the match with a .318 in the fourth and final game. Carrie DeMange led the Duke attacking effort with a match-high 24 kills. Libero Jenny Shull paced the defensive with 16 digs.

The Cavaliers will play host to Wake Forest at 7 p.m. Friday in their final home match of the year. The contest also will mark the final appearance in Orange and Blue for Virginia fourth years Melissa Caldwell, Sarah Kirkwood, Katie Oakes and Taylor Russo.

“It will be a great match and we want to send our fourth years off with a win,” Shelton said. “They have all been huge factors in our success over the last four years, and we want to send them off the right way.”

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