DURHAM, N.C. – Senior Jessi Bartholomew turned in a career-high 18 kills to help Duke defeat Notre Dame 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 17-15) Wednesday afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Bartholomew also hit .361 for the match, committing just five attack errors on 36 attack attempts. She also added three blocks for Duke (15-11, 9-8 ACC).
“Jessi has worked really, really her entire career,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “She’s a captain for us this year. She’s a great role model for our younger players. I’m so excited for her to have that success out on the court. Due to injuries this year, she’s had to be a utility player for us. She had to be prepared for a couple different positions. It’s fun to see her have a day like today.”
Graduate student Andie Shelton continued to fill the stat sheet, adding 12 kills, 31 assists, seven digs, five blocks and an ace in the winning effort Friday. Shelton also hit .370, her 12th match with a hitting percentage of .300 or better, while her final kill was the match-winner to end a dramatic fifth set.
Redshirt junior Leah Meyer also turned in a solid all-around performance. The middle blocker from Clarence, N.Y., had 13 kills while hitting .391 to go along with three blocks, six digs and three service aces.
Sophomore Payton Schwantz rounded out the Duke contingent in double-digit kills with 16. On the backline, freshman Mackenzie Cole picked up a match-high 26 digs while senior Kelli Kalinoski chipped in 18.
“Both teams played their hearts out to get the win,” Nagel added. “It was one of those matches where it’s hard to see either team not get the win. Both teams played really hard and kept their intensity throughout. Our team stayed very steady in the fifth set and set up some good blocks. We had some really great defensive plays.”
After dropping the first set, Duke found itself in a 7-1 hole to start the second. The Blue Devils were able to rally with an 11-3 stretch before the two teams traded the next 18 points. Despite two service errors, Duke was able to close out the second thanks to kills from Bartholomew and Meyer.
Tied 23-23 late in the third, Duke used kills from Meyer and Schwantz to establish set point before Meyer recorded the frame-ending ace to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 overall advantage.
Notre Dame limited Duke to its lowest hitting percentage of the day (.167) to claim the fourth and force a fifth and final set.
Following 22 ties and eight lead changes combined over the third and fourth sets, the two teams continued to battle in the fifth. Notre Dame established match point, 14-13, on a Charley Niego kill, but Duke was able to counter with a Schwantz tally. Tied 15-15, Lily Cooper combined with Schwantz for the block and Shelton sent down a kill to finish off the Fighting Irish.
Cooper led the Blue Devils with seven blocks, her 15th of the season with 4.0 or more blocks.
Niego tallied a match-high 19 kills to pace Notre Dame, while Kristin Baer had 13 kills and eight blocks.
Duke closes out the regular season at 2 p.m., Friday, November 23 against Miami in Cameron Indoor Stadium.