DURHAM, N.C. – In the final match of the 2017 regular season, Duke defeated North Carolina in straight sets 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-20) on senior night Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“This team has continued to impress me every time they go out in their preparation,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “We knew our serve would important, our pass would be important and our timing on the block would be important so we could slow UNC down. Defensively, we’ve got players that really study film and I felt they really knew our opponent and it showed. We were also really aggressive from the start.”
Cadie Bates led all players with 14 kills and also notched 11 digs, good for her 17th double-double of the season. Samantha Amos and Payton Schwantz joined Bates in double-digit kills, adding 11 and 10, respectively.
As a team, Duke (19-12, 11-9 ACC) totaled 50 kills and limited North Carolina (14-14, 11-9 ACC) to 32.
“Our setters have done a great job trying to move the ball around to open people up,” Nagel said. “That also has to do with our passers. For the most part, we played solid defense and got the ball up to target so our setters could move the ball around.”
Nicole Elattrache picked up a match-high 17 digs to anchor Duke’s defensive unit, which kept the Tar Heels to a .096 hitting percentage for the night.
The first set saw 11 ties and four lead changes before the Blue Devils emerged with a 25-21 win. Tied 18-18, Duke took advantage of UNC attack errors to stake a 22-18 lead. Anna Kropf dropped a kill to establish set point and Schwantz finished it off the next point.
A late rally again aided Duke in the Blue Devils’ 25-22 second set. With the score at 17-17, Duke received a kill each from Schwantz and Bates to break the tie. Two Tar Heel miscues ultimately sealed Duke’s three-point margin.
Amos put down six of her 11 kills in the third to help Duke to the 25-20 win. Three-straight Blue Devil kills gave Duke separation midway through the set. Duke led by as many as six points and never let the Tar Heels back into the frame.
Prior to the match, Duke honored its four seniors in Bates, Elattrache, Kropf and Paradiso.
“It’s really incredible what these four seniors have done for us,” Nagel said. “I really credit them helping our team through all the adversity we went through this year. It was their leadership … they didn’t relax in practice and that made everybody else work that much harder in practice. Our team was able to continue to get better.”