SYRACUSE N.Y. – Despite a strong showing in the first set, Duke came up short against Syracuse 3-1 (20-25, 25-29, 26-24, 25-21) Sunday afternoon in Women’s Building. The Orange improved to 19-12 (11-7 ACC) with the win, while the road loss dropped the Blue Devils to 17-12 (9-9 ACC).
“We had our opportunities,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “We did some good things, but in a close match like this, we have to execute like we’re capable every time we touch the ball. Syracuse is a smart, physical team and at times we really put pressure on them and played well. I thought we were inconsistent with that today.”
Cadie Bates finished with 18 kills and 13 digs, good for her 15th double-double of the season. The senior from Temecula, Calif., also hit .333 to pace the Blue Devil offense.
Payton Schwantz joined her fellow outsider hitter in double-digits, dropping 11 kills for her 21st match of the season with 10 or more tallies. In addition, Duke received 10-plus kills from each of its rightside hitters as Jessi Bartholomew notched 11 and Samantha Amos added 10.
In addition, Anna Kropf put down seven kills, hit .357 and totaled three blocks.
“I would’ve liked to get our middles a few more attempts, but I’m really pleased with the low number of errors for Cadie [Bates], Samie [Amos] and Anna [Kropf],” Nagel said. “I’m glad they were so efficient and excited the setters could help the pins to be so effective.”
Syracuse’s offense matched Duke kill for kill and the Orange proved the more efficient of the two teams. Three Syracuse players totaled 10 or more kills and hit .300 or better in Santita Ebangwese (12, .458), Amber Witherspoon (12, .323.) and Kendra Lukas (10, .375). Ella Saada paced the Orange with 13 kills while setter Jalissa Trotter recorded 45 assists, 16 digs and six kills.
Tied 15-15, Duke used a 7-2 run to take command of the first set. The Blue Devils scored three straight with Sarah Nelson behind the service line and later reached a 22-17 advantage following a block. Syracuse was unable to recover, ultimately surrendering the frame, 25-20.
A slow second-set start doomed Duke the following frame, resulting in a 25-19 setback.
The two squads battled a tightly contested third before Syracuse escaped with a 26-24 decision. Down 23-21, Duke tied it up after consecutive kills, one each from Schwantz and Bartholomew. The Blue Devils again tied the score at 24-24, but Syracuse came up with the stanza’s final two tallies to go ahead 2-1 overall.
Duke and Syracuse split the fourth set’s first 22 points before a 5-0 Orange run propelled the home team to a 25-21 final set. The Blue Devils did not go quietly, fighting off three match points before a final kill salted away the victory.
After four straight road matches, Duke returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 22 to take on NC State. ACC Network Extra will broadcast the match, available via WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.