CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Senior libero Nicole Elattrache recorded her 1,000th career dig to help Duke top Virginia 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 28-26, 25-12) Friday evening at Memorial Gymnasium.
Elattrache came to Duke as a setter before transition to defensive specialist/libero. With her 16-dig performance tonight, she became the 23rd Blue Devil in program history to reach 1,000 career digs.
“Thrilled Nicole earned her 1,000th career dig tonight,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “Nicole came in as a setter and had to work really hard to develop into this role. She’s taken advantage of every opportunity to be the best defensive player she can be and continues to make strides to get better. We’re really excited she hit this milestone tonight.”
On offense, freshman outside hitter Payton Schwantz knocked down 14 kills to lead a corps of Duke hitters in double figures. Schwantz hit a blistering .542 in her 15th match this season with 10 or more kills. Junior Jessi Bartholomew (12), sophomore Samantha Amos (11) and senior Cadie Bates (10) rounded out the Duke contingent with 10-plus kills.
Bates also picked up 12 digs to register her team-leading 11th double-double. Defensive specialist Kelli Kalinoski added 13 digs to aid the Duke back line.
At the net, Duke totaled 13.0 blocks. Both Blue Devils middle blockers Anna Kropf and Summer Brown contributed seven block assists while Bartholomew also had seven.
A Bates kill established set point for Duke, 24-21, in the first but Virginia won five straight points to steal the opening frame, 26-24. The Cavaliers fended off three set points before a ball handling error and block catapulted the Cavaliers to a 1-0 overall lead.
Duke’s second-set lead withstood a late Virginia rally as the Blue Devils won, 25-21. Duke put down 17 kills and hit .361 in the set, allowing the Blue Devils to tie the overall score at 1-1.
In a third set featuring a series of runs, Duke outlasted Virginia, 28-26. Down 17-13, Duke charged down the stretch with an 11-5 spurt. The Cavaliers countered to tie it up, 24-24, before the teams proceeded to trade points. Ultimately, Duke received a service error and Bartholomew kill to go ahead, 2-1.
“Virginia played really strong defense and kept digging balls,” Nagel said. “Our team really had to work to put a ball away against them tonight. There were some tight moments in the third set where it could’ve gone either way. I was really happy to see our team be aggressive and finish that set."
Duke’s momentum carried into the fourth. The Blue Devils hit .360 in the final frame to Virginia’s -.132 clip, winning it 25-12.
Next up, the Blue Devils play Virginia Tech at 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22 in Blacksburg, Va.