American defeats Duke for first trip to round of 16 in school history
DURHAM, N.C. -- American is going to the NCAA round of 16 for the first time in program history. The Eagles swept Duke, the 16th seed in the tournament, on Saturday night to advance to the Lincoln Regionals against top-seeded Texas next weekend.
Juliana Crum tallied the first kill of the match for American (34-2) but the Blue Devils rallied to knot it up at 4-all on an ace by Elizabeth Campbell. A service error by Campbell gave the Eagles back the lead and American took a 9-4 advantage on an ace by Megan Rosburg. The Blue Devils went on a 6-0 run to tie it up at 23-all. Monika Smidova gave the Eagles back the lead and a block by Kelly McCaddin and Smidova sealed the 25-23 win.
Duke (28-5) took the early lead in the second set but American was able to take its first lead on a block by McCaddin and Lindovska. A block by Crum put American up 12-8 as Duke called a timeout and was able to rally out of the break with a 5-1 run to knot it up at 13. The two teams went back and forth and the Blue Devils went up 20-18 on a block by Jordan Tucker after an Eagles' timeout. Duke maintained its edge before back-to-back Lindovska kills knotted it up at 23-all. American closed out the set with another kill by Lindovska and a pair from McCaddin as it took a 2-0 match advantage into the break following the 26-24 win.
The Blue Devils opened the third set with a 9-2 lead but the Eagles battled back with a 15-1 run to take a 17-10 advantage. Duke battled back with a 9-1 run to cut American's advantage to 23-22. But the Eagles were able to complete the sweep with back-to-back kills by Lindovska for the 25-22 victory.
Smidova posted her second consecutive double-double in the tournament with 35 assists and 15 digs. Three players notched double-digit kills with Lindovska tallying 13, Crum adding 11 and McCaddin notching 10 points. Crum finished with 21 digs to lead American and McCaddin posted eight blocks while hitting a team-best .429. The Eagles outhit the Blue Devils .204 to .110 in the match.