DURHAM, N.C. – A career-high 19 kills from outside hitter Payton Schwantz was not enough to lift Duke to victory over Florida State Sunday as the Blue Devils fell 3-1 (25-23, 16-25, 25-18, 28-26) in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Seminoles improved to 11-5 (5-3 ACC) while the loss dropped the Blue Devils to 11-8 (3-5 ACC).
“It was a battle out there today,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “We served decently. FSU did really well on their serve receive and they really dug a ton of balls. I’m proud of the way our team kept fighting and hanging in there. We’re adjusting to some of the injuries we’ve had and that’s a really great thing. This team is going to continue to work hard and get better each week, which they’ve done.”
Schwantz’ 19 kills led all players and surpassed her previous career high (17) set in the season opener at Colorado State. Outside hitter Cadie Bates and rightside hitter Jessi Bartholomew joined Schwantz in double-digit kills, but the FSU defense picked up 92 digs to secure the victory.
Bates finished a dig shy of her career high, recording her team-leading 10th double-double of the season with a 13-kill, 21-dig effort. Bartholomew knocked down a season-high 13 kills on .281 hitting to bolster the Duke offense.
“A few of our kids had really good games today,” Nagel said. “Cadie did a tremendous job. Jessi and Payton really came through at the net for us with some blocking and being aggressive with their offense.”
Setter Emma Paradiso dished out 30 assists for her second-straight match with 30 or more assists, while setter Sarah Nelson notched a double-double of her own. Nelson totaled 26 assists and 13 digs for the Blue Devils.
In the first, Duke rallied late after falling behind early but could not overtake Florida State in the end. An FSU attack error made it a 24-23 game before a Taryn Knuth kill sealed the set, 25-23.
Duke put together two separate runs in the second to win it, 25-16. Down 14-11, the Blue Devils won eight straight points, culminating in an Anna Kropf and Jessi Bartholomew block. Up 20-16 late, Duke grabbed the set’s final five points.
A slow start to the third doomed Duke in the end and the Blue Devils hit .114 in the 25-18 loss.
The fourth set saw 10 ties as Duke fought back to even the score at 22-22 after trailing by as many as three. The two teams traded points, resulting in a 26-26 stalemate following a Bates kill. FSU’s Milica Kubura notched back-to-back kills to clinch the set, 28-26, and the match.
“We stuck to the game plan pretty well,” Nagel added. “We’re a relatively young team and we’ve got to still learn that we can’t have somebody forget their assignment at all. We still had a little bit of that. Not a ton, but enough to make a difference.”
Kubura paced Florida State with 16 kills. Bozena Culo had 14 and Natasha Calkins added 11. Both setter Brianne Burkert and libero Cecilie Woie picked up 20 digs to anchor the Seminole back line.
Next up, Duke hits the road for matches at Virginia (Oct. 20) and Virginia Tech (Oct. 22).