Eschenberg and Robinson aide No. 8 Cougars in 3-1 win over Blue Devils
DURHAM, N.C. – Career-high performances from sophomore middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg and freshman outside hitter Madi Robinson helped No. 8 BYU women’s volleyball beat Duke in four sets (16-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-17) in a rematch of the season opener Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“Tonight we had a great team effort,” BYU head coach Heather Olmstead said. “I'm very pleased with how the team kept fighting after losing the first set. We had a few people come in the match that completely changed the energy. Kennedy was solid all night and is working hard every day and it's showing. Duke was a great host. We're grateful we got to come out here and learn about ourselves.”
Eschenberg collected five blocks to go with her 13 kills, a career high, while hitting at a .522 clip. Madi Robinson had a career-high 12 kills on a .632 clip coming off the bench. Lyndie Haddock-Eppich contributed 46 assists while McKenna Miller chipped in 13 kills. Mary Lake added 19 digs in the win.
Duke (0-2) took a 6-3 lead over BYU (2-0) to begin the first set after several Cougar attack errors. A 4-1 Blue Devil run, capped off by an ace, increased the advantage to five as BYU called timeout down 11-6. Duke capitalized on more errors as it led 16-8 following an 8-2 rally. The Blue Devils led by as many as 12 before eventually taking the set 25-16.
A block from Heather Gneiting and Haddock-Eppich helped the Cougars to a 5-1 lead to start the second set. Duke then used a 4-1 run to get back within a pair, trailing 8-6. Another 4-0 rally from the Blue Devils evened the score at 10-all. Two kills from Eschenberg helped BYU go back ahead 15-11, but Duke pushed its way back to down just one, 17-16, after a kill. The two teams remained close from there until a 4-0 Cougar rally ended the set with a 25-19 win for BYU.
The Blue Devils took a 4-1 edge at the beginning of the third set after two kills from Duke’s Leah Meyer. The Cougars then used a run of their own to take a 6-5 lead. The teams remained neck-and-neck from there until a 4-1 BYU rally gave it a 13-10 advantage. The Blue Devils stayed in the set with smooth offense, evening the set at 18 apiece following a kill. Robinson helped the Cougars with a trio of kills as BYU took a 22-18 lead. Duke came back within a point, down 22-21, but the comeback proved too late as the Cougars won the set 25-22 on another Robinson kill.
Consecutive Eschenberg kills put BYU in front 7-5 to start the fourth set. A 5-0 Cougar rally then made it 12-6, and back-to-back Blue Devil errors kept BYU in the lead, 17-11. Consecutive kills from Danelle Stetler forced Duke to take a timeout, trailing 20-13. The Cougars then cruised to a 25-17 win to take the set and match.
BYU returns home to the Smith Fieldhouse next, facing West Virginia, No. 1 Stanford and Wichita State as part of the BYU Nike Invitational. The first match against West Virginia is slated for Thursday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. MDT. The match will be streamed live on TheW.tv. Live stats can be found on the BYU women’s volleyball schedule page.
BYU women’s volleyball season tickets for the upcoming 2023 campaign will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 26.