DURHAM – On the eve of the 51st season in the program’s history, the Duke volleyball team will host North Carolina A&T on Thursday, August 19 at Cameron Indoor Stadium for an exhibition game at 6:30 p.m.
The Blue Devils wrapped up the 2020-21 season 9-13 overall and went 7-10 in conference. Entering his 23rd season at the helm of the program, the head coach Jolene nagel returns 11 team winners from last season, including All-ACC caps Mackenzie cole, Ade Owokoniran and Payton Schwantz, in addition to five new arrivals. During his tenure as Duke, Nagel led the Blue Devils to 13 NCAA tournament appearances and 14 seasons with 20 or more wins.
In addition to returnees Cole, Owokoniran and Schwantz, Nagel once again welcomes seniors Lily cooper and Alex springate, juniors Lizzie fleming, Gracie johnson, Camille Nazor and Moorea wood and second year students Georgia Stavrinides and Sydney yap.
Duke adds five newcomers to graduate student Taylor Cole, sister of Mackenzie, and freshmen Ngozi Iloh, Rylie kadel, Rachel richardson and Nikki underwood.
AGAINST THE GROUND
Duke and North Carolina A&T meet for the sixth time in the history of the program and for the first time since 2002. The Blue Devils have not lost a game (5-0) and in their last meeting, the team de Nagel won a 3-1 victory in September. 17, 2002.
Last season, the Aggies went 11-2 overall and 8-0 in a conference game in their season cut short due to COVID-19 and won an NCAA Championship bid after winning the Championship. the Atlantic Middle East Conference.
Head coach Hal Clifton is two-time MEAC Player of the Year award to Edie Brewer as she helped guide the Aggies to their first NCAA appearance.
THE BLUE DEVILS BACK IN ACTION
Nagel returns almost his entire attack of the 2020-21 season, led by Ade Owokoniran (243 killed), Gracie johnson (223 killed) and Payton Schwantz (160 killed). Duke’s defense is also set to succeed this season, led by 2021 All-ACC Libero Cole with 396 digs. The Blue Devils return the two passer at Nazor and Springate and their best blockers are back in action at Cooper, Fleming and Stavrinides.
SCHWANTZ RETURNS FOR THE FIFTH YEAR
Graduate student Payton Schwantz elected to use her final year of NCAA eligibility due to COVID-19 and is currently enrolled in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
The 5-11 outside hitter has been a mainstay of Duke’s roster for the past four years, typically as a six-rotation player.
She has played in 376 sets and has racked up 1,025 kills, 818 digs, 100 blocks and 38 aces on service to date. The Frisco, Texas native became the 26th Blue Devil to reach the 1,000 dead milestone during Duke’s sweep of Boston College on March 22, 2021.
The Duke volleyball program added another Cole family member to the team this year as a graduate student Taylor Cole joined this summer. Taylor graduated from Iona College in the spring of 2021, where she spent the last four years as a defensive specialist for the Gaels. Taylor is the older sister of current senior defensive specialist Blue Devil Mackenzie.
Throughout his career, Taylor played in 359 sets for 98 games and racked up 639 digs. She also has 106 aces and 58 assists.
COLE, SPRINGATE NAMED CAPTAINS
The Duke Volleyball Program and Head Coach Jolene nagel are delighted to announce their captains for the 2021 season as seniors Mackenzie cole and Alex springate will lead the Blue Devils this fall.
The two have combined to make 137 appearances over the past three years and have impressive resumes.
GAME DAY INFORMATION
For more information on health and safety guidelines, as well as general match day information, please visit here.
Following that exhibition game, Duke’s first regular-season game will take place on the road at the Coastal Carolina Invitational, starting with the Chanticleers on Friday, August 27.
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