DURHAM, N.C. – Duke took the first set against BYU before the eighth-ranked Cougars rallied to defeat the Blue Devils 3-1 (25-16, 19-25, 22-25, 17-25) in the two teams’ second meeting in as many days Saturday in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“I was really, really excited the way we came out and fought,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “We made some big adjustments and our team was able to do that against a good team. Obviously we’ve got some things we need to work on, but we learned a lot about ourselves tonight. Really pleased with the effort. Really pleased with the execution.”
For the second straight night, freshman hitter Ade Owokoniran led the kills, once again knocking down 12. Sophomore outside hitter Payton Schwantz added a double-double, totaling 10 kills and 10 digs. Schwantz also hit .320 on the night and contributed a pair of blocks.
Redshirt junior Leah Meyer continued the strong start to her season. Meyer finished with 11 kills while committing one attack error on 17 attempts. In addition to hitting .588 for the match, Meyer also totaled five blocks. For the weekend, she hit .552 with 18 kills to go along with seven blocks.
Really excited to have Leah have the last two nights that she’s had against a strong opponent. Last night, she was very steady. She just played like a fourth-year player. That was wonderful to see. Hopefully she’s encouraged by it to because she’s really doing a great job for us out there.
Duke limited BYU to a .026 hitting percentage in the first set, building a substantial lead before claiming it, 25-16. Despite the slow start, the Cougars were able to hit above .300 in each of the following stanzas.
The Blue Devils fought to overcome an early second-set deficit before succumbing to the Cougars, 25-19. The third set featured back-and-forth action throughout, resulting in a one-point game at 22-21. BYU’s Madi Robinson put down a kill to propel the Cougars to the eventual 25-22 decision. The Cougars then hit .353 to claim the fourth, 25-17.
Robinson was outstanding all night for the Cougars, dropping 12 kills without an attack error. She hit .632 for the match, adding three digs and two blocks. Both McKenna Miller and Kennedy Eschenberg had 13 kills to lead BYU.
Next up, Duke travels to Baton Rouge, La., for the Tiger Classic hosted by LSU August 31 to September 1.