DURHAM, N.C. – Duke was unable to convert a strong start into its second ACC win of the season, falling to Syracuse 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-21, 25-17) Sunday afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Blue Devils (7-6, 1-3 ACC) turned in a dominant first set and raced to a seven-point second-set lead before the Orange captured the momentum with a late rally. A close third frame ultimately went to Syracuse (8-4, 4-0), then the Orange closed out the match to remain unbeaten in conference play.
“Syracuse is a really strong team,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “They’re physical; they have a high skill level. We started out really well, but little by little things started to break down and we’ve got to not allow that to happen. We’ve got to stay steady throughout the entire match."
Freshman outside hitter Ade Owokoniran totaled 10 kills and hit .310 to lead the Blue Devils, recording her sixth straight match in double-digit kills. Sophomore outside hitter Payton Schwantz also reached double figure kills, adding 11 to go along with 10 digs, good for her fifth double-double of the season.
Orange freshman outside hitter Polina Shemanova knocked down 25 kills and picked up 18 digs to pace Syracuse.
Duke amassed 16 kills and hit .364 in the first set, a 25-18 victory. The Blue Devils led the second, 14-7, before Syracuse began to chip away at the advantage. Three separate 4-0 runs allowed the Orange to tie the frame at 22-all before A Santita Ebangwese kill gave the Orange the lead at 24-23. Duke tied it at 24-24 but a pair of kills wrapped up the comeback.
Duke again saw an early lead evaporate in the third as Syracuse closed out the set on a 14-6 run. The Orange used that momentum in the fourth to finish off the match.
Middle blocker Leah Meyer ended the day with eight kills and eight blocks, while rightside hitter Samantha Amos added seven kills and five blocks. Setter/hitter Andie Shelton led Duke with 13 digs, adding 23 assists for her team-leading sixth double-double of the season.
Duke departs Durham for its next two ACC matches, traveling to Louisville and Notre Dame this coming weekend.