GREELEY, Colo. – Duke held off UCF 3-2 (25-18, 15-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-8) Saturday afternoon at Bank of Colorado Arena to secure its second five-set win in as many matches to start the 2017 season 2-0.
After a back-and-forth match, Duke (2-0) took a commanding 8-2 lead to start the fifth set and did not allow UCF (1-1) a chance to rally.
“It wasn’t the smoothest match,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “Central Florida blocked well and we really had to work to get this match. I’m excited out team was able to do that.”
Freshman outside hitter Payton Schwantz paced the offense with 16 kills. She committed four attack errors on 30 attempts for a .400 hitting percentage while also adding six digs, a block and a service ace.
Senior outside hitter Cadie Bates joined the rookie in double-digit kills, contributing her second double-double in as many matches. Bates totaled 10 kills, 18 digs and four blocks in the winning efforts. Sophomore rightside hitter Samantha Amos was the third Blue Devil to reach double-digit kills, knocking down 10 while hitting .364.
Duke hit .387 and totaled 16 kills to secure a 25-18 first set victory. Tied 14-14, the Blue Devils used a 5-0 run to close out the frame with a 11-3 stretch.
The Blue Devils fell behind early in the second and were unable to climb back in the second. Down 9-2, Duke made a run before UCF countered with a spurt of its own.
Momentum turned in the Blue Devils’ favor for the third set. Duke hit .407 as a team with 15 kills while the defense kept UCF to a .128 clip.
Duke built a 20-17 lead heading into the final stretch of the fourth before UCF put together an 8-3 stretch to claim the frame, 25-23.
Despite the Knights’ late fourth-set rally, Duke was able to win eight of the first 10 points in the fifth set to put the match away.
On defense, four Blue Devils surpassed four blocks each, led by Anna Kropf’s six. Libero Nicole Elattrache totaled 15 digs to join Bates in double figures. Duke limited the Knights to a .181 hitting percentage for the match.
UCF’s Kia Bright led all players with 19 kills, followed by Ali Sabol’s 16.
The Blue Devils conclude their weekend trip with a 9 p.m. (EDT) contest against Northern Colorado Saturday, Aug. 26.