DURHAM, N.C. – The Blue Devils did not drop a set on the opening day of the 2018 Duke Invitational, dispatching both Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina in straight sets to open their annual home tournament Friday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“It’s really exciting when you can have a team be able to grow each time they step out on the court,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “I didn’t anticipate today would be like this. We knew we had strong opponents coming in. I’m really pleased that our team took it one opponent at a time and really executed.”
Duke (6-2) has won 11-straight sets since its five-set victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and extended its overall win streak to six consecutive matches. Neither Cincinnati (6-2) nor Coastal Carolina (1-6) had an answer for Leah Meyer in the middle as the redshirt junior averaged 3.00 kills per set, hit .500 and averaged 2.17 blocks per set over the two matches.
Behind a season-high .398 team hitting percentage, the Blue Devils began the 2018 Duke Invitational with a straight-set victory over Cincinnati 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-23).
Outside hitter Payton Schwantz knocked down 12 kills and picked up 10 digs to record her second double-double of the season while hit .556 with 11 kills to lead the Blue Devil offense.
Defensively, Duke limited its fifth straight opponent to a hitting percentage under .200, holding Cincinnati to a .192 clip. Jordan Thompson was the only Bearcat in double digits, totaling a match-high 15 kills.
Coastal Carolina was unable to solve Duke’s defense in Friday’s final contest as the Blue Devils used a season-high 15.5 blocks to secure a 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-22) victory over the Chanticleers.
Meyer once again led the way, this time totaling 9.0 blocks to go along with seven kills. Duke’s leader in hitting percentage (.428), Meyer has posted just one match with a hitting percentage under .300 so far this season.
Freshman middle blocker Lily Cooper nearly match Meyer at the net, contributing 6.0 blocks of her own while adding six kills and hitting .455. Rookie Ade Owokoniran had 10 kills to lead the Blue Devils offensively, while fellow freshman Mackenzie Cole had a match-high 11 digs.
The Duke Invitational concludes Saturday as Coastal Carolina and Cincinnati square off at 12 p.m., before the Blue Devils battle East Tennessee State at 2 p.m.