DURHAM, N.C. -- No. 12 Notre Dame took an early lead against No. 7 Duke and held on for a 12-8 victory in a rainy and cold Koskinen Stadium on Thursday afternoon. It marked Duke’s fourth straight game, and sixth in its last seven, against a ranked opponent. They now hold a 4-4 record over ranked teams this year.
The loss was the third straight for the Blue Devils, which is the first time that has happened to the program since March of 2002. Duke falls to 7-4 on the year while Notre Dame improves to 9-3.
As with Duke’s loss to Virginia last Saturday, a run in the first half by the opposing squad was too much for the Blue Devils to overcome. While the Cavaliers' five straight goals came late in the first half, Notre Dame tallied five consecutive scores just after Duke took a 1-0 only 33 seconds into the contest.
Duke would score two quick goals late in the first but would allow Notre Dame two more in the last 1:45 of the half to go into the locker room down 7-3.
The Blue Devils would get within three scores twice in the second half-- once early and once late, but were unable to cut the deficit any more than that.
Duke won the ground ball battle (16-15), outshot the Irish (25-22), had less turnovers (15-16) and caused more turnovers (10-7), even though it was behind in all of those categories at halftime. The deciding factor may have been on the draw, where the Blue Devils crushed the Irish 8-3 in the first half but had the tables turned on them with an identical 8-3 advantage by Notre Dame in the second when a comeback was being attempted. The 13 fouls in the second half and 23 overall committed by the Blue Devils also did not help their cause.
Offensively, it was freshmen midfielders Sarah Bullard and Emma Hamm who led Duke with two goals each. Junior attacked Carolyn Davis took a season-high 10 shots but was only able to find the back of the net once.
Hamm also was a menace in the midfield once again, securing five ground balls, causing four turnovers and picking up two draw controls. Junior captain and midfielder Jess Adam led Duke on the draw with three controls.
Notre Dame was paced by freshman midfielder Shaylyn Blaney, who scored four goals, and by junior goalkeeper Erin Goodman, who stopped 11 of Duke’s 19 shots on goal.
With the loss, the Blue Devils are now 9-2 all-time against the Irish and have their string of three straight victories over Notre Dame snapped. The Blue Devils have played the Irish once a year since 1998.
The Blue Devils have a difficult and quick turn-around as defending national champion and No. 1 Northwestern visits on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. That game will be available live and on-demand on ACCSelect.com.