DURHAM, N.C. – In a match featuring numerous lengthy rallies, Duke found a way to grind out a 3-1 (19-25, 34-32, 25-18, 25-23) victory over Notre Dame Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The two teams combined for 213 digs in a match that saw eight players with 10-plus digs and four with over 20 digs. Notre Dame (16-8, 6-7 ACC) entered the evening as the ACC’s top team in digs, but Duke (16-8, 8-5 ACC) picked up 112 digs to the Irish’s 101 Friday.
“We had to work to keep focus,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “There were some really long rallies. There was some really good play going on. It was a long match for four sets and that takes of lot of mental energy. [Our team] did a great job with it. I’m really, really proud of them.”
Senior outside hitter Cadie Bates amassed 32 digs, easily surpassing her previous career high of 22. Bates also knocked down 17 kills to record her team-best 12th double-double of the season. Fellow outside hitter Payton Schwantz contributed a double-double as well, adding 14 kills and 13 digs.
Libero Nicole Elattrache matched her career high with a 29-dig performance, while setter Sarah Nelson and defensive specialist Kellie Kalinoski chipped in 12 and 11, respectively. Nelson notched Duke’s third double-double, dishing out a career-best 32 assists. Fellow setter Haley Seyfarth tossed up 26 assists to go along with nine digs as well.
Junior Jessi Bartholomew continued her current success, tallying a career-best 17 kills while adding four blocks. Tonight’s performance pushes Bartholomew’s streak to six straight matches with double-digit kills.
Despite the plethora of Blue Devil career highs, Friday’s match did not begin in Duke’s favor. Notre Dame’s vaunted defense lived up to its reputation, limiting the Blue Devils to 10 kills on .021 hitting in a 25-19 decision.
The second set featured 15 ties before Duke ultimately secured a 34-32 victory. The Blue Devils led 24-21 following a Samantha Amos kill, but the Irish clawed back to knot the score. With Duke down 25-24, the two teams proceeded to trade the next 12 points. A Schwantz kill gave Duke a 31-30 lead. The Blue Devils seemed to have the set in hand after a Notre Dame attack was ruled out of bounds, but the call was reversed upon further review and play continued. Bates dropped two kills to put Duke up, 33-32, and Amos delivered her first ace of the season to clinch the victory.
“I felt like in the first set we really weren’t giving it everything we had,” said Nagel. “Then in the second set we started to play a little bit better. That second set we seemed to be much more in tune with the situation at hand. I thought we controlled the ball a lot better. To get that set was huge. I’m really proud of our kids for hanging in there and persevering to get it.”
Duke used a 7-0 stretch to establish an 18-10 third-set margin. Bartholomew laid down six kills on .429 hitting in the frame, a 25-18 Duke decision.
The Blue Devils led the fourth by four at the midway point before the Irish rallied to even the score, 20-20. Bartholomew registered a kill to ignite a 3-0 Duke run and her 17th kill gave Duke match point at 24-21. Notre Dame fought off two match points prior to a Schwantz game-ending kill.
Duke returns to Cameron at 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 5 to host Louisville on ACC Network Extra.