DURHAM, N.C. – Duke was unable to match Northwestern outside hitters Symone Abbott and Nia Robinson, falling to the Wildcats 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-22) Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Abbott and Robinson combined for 30 kills on 66 attempts, good for a .394 hitting percentage. As a team, Northwestern (4-1) posted a .394 hitting percentage, the highest allowed by Duke (4-1) this season.
“This morning, we did a good job of controlling the tempo of the match,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “We did well to get that match in three against a scrappy UNCW team. I think our team is going to learn a ton from this evening’s match. Northwestern is a physical team. They had such quick tempo with the ball. They pointed out some of the things we need to get better.”
Northwestern dropped 15 kills while hitting .433 to take the first set 25-21. Duke led 20-19 late, but the Wildcats used three kills, a bad set and a block to outscore the Blue Devils 5-1 the rest of the way.
Duke led the second set 15-9 before Northwestern close the frame on a 16-7 run to claim the 25-22 decision. Abbott and Robinson combined for 12 kills on .455 hitting to power the Wildcat comeback. An ace ultimately sealed the set win and 2-0 overall lead for Northwestern.
The Wildcats totaled a match-high 17 kills in the third to keep a Duke rally at bay. The Blue Devils trailed by as many as five in the third prior to trimming the margin to a manageable, 23-22 on a Cadie Bates kill. Robinson responded with a kill to establish match point and Abbott ended the game with a solo block.
The Blue Devils conclude the 2017 Duke Invitational Saturday, Sept. 2 against South Carolina at 3 p.m.