DURHAM, N.C. – Despite battling back from a 2-0 deficit, the 14th-ranked Duke volleyball team was outlasted by Virginia Tech, 3-2 (17-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20, 13-15), Saturday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
With the loss, the Blue Devils drop to 4-2 both overall and in conference play as the Hokies elevate to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in ACC action.
The Blue Devils featured four with double-digit kills led by sophomore Gracie Johnson (15), junior Lily Cooper (14), sophomore Lizzie Fleming (12) and senior Payton Schwantz (10) as Duke hit .241 for the five-set match. Cooper and Fleming both hit a whopping .455 percent with just six errors combined.
Schwantz notched her third double-double of the fall season with her 10 kills and 14 digs.
Defensively, Duke registered 6.0 total team blocks as Fleming led the way with four, followed by junior Ade Owokoniran with three, Johnson and Cooper with two and rookie Georgia Stavrinides with one. Libero Mackenzie Cole spearheaded the back row with 14 digs.
Virginia Tech came out hot in the first two frames, hitting .325 in the first and .300 in the second as Duke was unable to find its rhythm.
The Blue Devils turned the corner in the third set as they hit .321 with 13 kills and just four errors with Johnson leading the way with five to hit .444. Cooper followed with four and a .600 hitting percentage. Duke also found its block with Fleming who reeled in three.
Duke carried its momentum into the fourth to hit .500 percent with five more kills from Johnson and four from Schwantz before a tough final set. The fifth frame featured three tied scores as Marisa Cerchio hit .500 with no errors. Duke trailed 10-6, called a timeout to regroup just before Fleming recorded back-to-back kills to trail within one (14-13) before Kaity Smith collected her 17th kill of the match.
The Hokies hit .289 percent and were led by Cerchio with 18 kills and just one error to hit .500 and Smith with 17 to hit .306.
The Blue Devils will close out the weekend Sunday against Virginia Tech at 5:30 p.m. on ACC Network.