Entering this week, only 25 Duke players had ever amassed 1,000 career kills. But Monday afternoon, senior Payton Schwantz joined that exclusive club.
Duke swept Boston College in Cameron Indoor Stadium in the team’s final home match of the season, with Schwantz recording that historic 1,000th career kill in the process.
“Payton is a very talented and gifted outside hitter,” head coach Jolene Nagel said. “She is a very important piece of the puzzle out there on the court and makes a big difference for us when she is out there. So I am really excited to see her get her 1,000th kill.”
Schwantz has played as a six rotations player throughout her career in Durham, serving as a consistent offensive threat. She especially excels in out of system plays when her teammates can rely on her to keep the ball in play.
Against the Eagles, sophomore Gracie Johnson led the Blue Devils with 11 kills, followed closely by Schwantz with 10 and sophomore Lizzie Fleming with seven. Both Schwantz and Fleming posted hitting percentages at or above .500, with neither committing a single error on the day.
Strong blocking and a decrease in service errors also became evident as Duke (9-9, 7-6 in the ACC) got into a rhythm. Blocking by freshman Georgia Stavrinides as well as Schwantz and Johnson shut down the Boston College offense, allowing the Blue Devils to stay aggressive.
Duke’s win against Boston College (1-12, 0-12) came after several particularly tough matches in Cameron over the weekend, as the Blue Devils fell to Miami and No. 19 Pittsburgh on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Despite posting a better hitting percentage than Miami (9-5, 8-5), Duke fell in the fifth set by just two points. Johnson, junior Ade Owokoniran and Fleming led the Blue Devils with 15, 12 and 11 kills, respectively.
Two days later, Pittsburgh (11-4, 10-4) also defeated Duke in a fifth set that came down to a mere two points. While the Blue Devils actually had more kills against the Panthers than against the Hurricanes, an increased number of errors plagued the home team.
“Due to the COVID scheduling changes that have occurred, our team has had to play some pretty tough matches…. But ultimately, it has made us a lot better,” Nagel said of the weekend losses. “I am really actually grateful for the opportunity that we have had to play the tough competition we have had to play this spring.”
Duke travels to Syracuse, N.Y., this weekend to take on Wake Forest Saturday and then Syracuse Sunday.
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