DURHAM, N.C. – The 20th-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team ended its regular season Saturday with a 19-7 setback to No. 3 North Carolina on Senior Day at Koskinen Stadium.
The Blue Devils (8-8) rounded out their conference slate with a 1-6 ledger, setting up an ACC quarterfinals meeting with the top-seeded Tar Heels next Thursday at 11 a.m. in Richmond, Va. Sports Backers Stadium will serve as the site for the 2017 ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship.
The Duke attack featured three goals from junior Kyra Harney Saturday while classmate Maddie Crutchfield and sophomore Olivia Jenner tossed in two goals each. The trio could not overcome seven goals from Tar Heel senior attacker Molly Hendrick.
Harney and Crutchfield kept up their strong offensive pace and have combined for 26 points in the past three contests. Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Gabbe Cadoux totaled eight stops in the net and led Duke with three ground balls.
After North Carolina took a quick 3-1 lead nine minutes into the game, Crutchfield answered with back-to-back goals at the 19:11 and 16:02 marks to bring the contest to a 3-3 tie.
The Tar Heels responded to the Blue Devil rally with six consecutive goals, two from Hendrick and two from Sammy Jo Tracy, to regain the lead they would not relinquish at 9-3 with 8:21 to go in the opening period.
“[North Carolina is] a veteran team offensively,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “They are capable of playing at that level. And if you make simple mistakes, they’re going to make you pay for it. We struggled on the draw and we let Molly Hendrick really have a day, which is a shame because in the past we’ve battled her really well. But to her credit, she stepped up and had a great day against us.”
Jenner and Hendrick traded goals over the final eight minutes of the half, each scoring two to round out the half with North Carolina leading, 11-5.
The Tar Heels came out with their foot on the gas in the second half, adding two more tallies by Hendrick and a pair by Sydney Holman. The visiting squad led 18-5 at that point before Harney threw in her final two goals off Grace Fallon assists and Hendrick added her final strike. Harney’s final two goals pushed her season total to 30, giving her three campaigns of 30 or more scores.
For the contest, North Carolina led 37-26 in shots and held a 19-9 advantage at the draw behind 11 by Tracy. Jenner paced the Blue Devils at the draw with four and Crutchfield supplied three.
Tar Heel goalkeeper Caylee Waters totaled 13 saves, including eight in the first half.
Saturday marked Senior Day for 12 Blue Devils – Jessie Ambrose, Casey Black, Helen Cammerzell, Caitlin Carey, Quinlan Cullen, Stuart Humphrey, Isabelle Montagne, Kitty Morrissey, Devon Russell, Paige Russell, Maura Schwitter and Hayley Shaffer. The group has guided Duke to a 46-30 record in four seasons.
“This senior class has been stellar for us, both on the field and in the classroom,” Kimel said. “Since they were freshmen, they have just added a really great spirit and dynamic to our team – in terms of their work ethic and the example they’ve set for teammates.”
Thursday’s ACC quarterfinal contest will be broadcast on RSN and ACC Network Extra.