DURHAM, N.C. – Loyola Marymount ended Duke’s four match win streak, defeating the Blue Devils 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23) Saturday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Lions hit .311 as a team to move to 7-4 on the year while Duke slipped to 8-3.
“Tonight, we didn’t serve the ball as well as we needed to,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “We didn’t have many aces and had a few too many errors. That hurts in a match as close as this. We came up just short. We needed to be able to run our offense better than we were able to tonight. I think our team needs to get better as we result of this. This needs to be something that motivates us and with this particular group I think it will.”
Freshman outside hitter Payton Schwantz paced the Blue Devils with 16 kills for her sixth consecutive match in double-figure kills. Senior outside hitter Cadie Bates finished with 14 kills on .429 hitting to go along with seven digs. Sophomore rightside hitter Natalie Schilling also surpassed the 10-kill threshold, knocking down 11 while hitting .346 with four blocks.
Duke was unable to adjust to LMU’s fast-paced offense in the first as the Lions hit .533 to take the first, 25-13.
The Blue Devils countered in the second to tie the match at 1-1 overall. Schwantz knocked down seven kills in the set and Duke hit .419 as a team in the 25-23 decision. Duke led by as many as five before LMU took a 23-22 lead late. A Schwantz killed evened the score before Schilling and Brown teamed up on the block that established set point. A Lion attack error then sealed the set.
“I was really happy the way the team responded after that first set,” Nagel said. “It almost seemed like we were frozen. We weren’t executing any kind of way in that first set. In the second set, to see them come out and be a lot more aggressive … it was nice to see and a really good sign.”
Duke fell behind early in the third and the Blue Devil rally came up short. After trailing by five, the Blue Devils fought back to tie the score at 17-all. Back-to-back blocks gave LMU the lead again and the Lions would not allow Duke to even the score a second time.
The Blue Devils posted a .333 hitting percentage in the fourth but could not hold off the Lions in the end. A bad set put LMU up 23-22 and the Lions received a Savannah Slattery kill coupled with a Duke attack error to complete the win.
Slattery was one of three Lions to reach double-digit kills, knocking down 12. Megan Rice led all players with 16, While Sara Kovac had 13.
After 11 non-conference matches to start the season, Duke opens ACC play Friday, Sept. 22 against Wake Forest in Cameron. The Blue Devils and the Demon Deacons square off at 6:30 p.m., on ACC Network Extra.