SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A stalwart defensive performance and balanced scoring effort guided 20th-ranked Duke to a 17-10 ACC road win at No. 11 Syracuse Saturday in the Carrier Dome. The Blue Devils held the Orange to just four goals in the second half to improve to 7-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Senior Kyra Harney, junior Olivia Jenner and freshman Charlotte North all posted hat tricks in the victory, with North’s three tallies giving her 41 for the season – breaking Duke’s freshman goals record. Senior Grace Fallon logged a game-high six points while matching her career-best showing with five assists.
“I can’t say enough how proud I am of our team,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “We’re coming off of two really tough losses in big games, and I think our kids’ commitment to not just using this week to prepare for Syracuse, but to make ourselves better, really showed here. We’ve had good weeks where we’ve practiced well, prepared well and it hasn’t really translated to the field. I think it did today. To do it here, in a tough environment to play in, I’m just so proud.”
An impressive defensive effort in the first half paced the Blue Devils to a two-goal advantage at the break. After entering the contest late in the opening period, sophomore goalkeeper Gabbe Cadoux kept the momentum rolling with three stops. Fallon found fellow senior Harney for the third time on the afternoon, but the Orange responded with a pair of quick tallies that trimmed the margin to two at 10-8.
Three straight wins at the draw fueled consecutive goals by Harney, North and Jenner. The scoring spurt extended Duke’s lead to 13-8 with 17:24 left on the clock.
Freshman midfielder Katie Cronin caused a turnover on a Syracuse clear attempt and, a few plays later, converted on a free position opportunity to put the margin back at five. Cadoux and Syracuse goalkeeper Hannah Van Middelem traded saves before the Blue Devils closed out the contest on a 3-1 run, with Fallon, Jenner and senior midfielder Maddie Crutchfield all finding the back of the net.
“Maddie, Grace and Kyra – our three captains – really stepped up from a leadership standpoint,” Kimel said. “And I think our defense was outstanding … A huge point of emphasis this week was shooting. We took the pressure off of our defense because we were finishing more than not on our offensive end. With finishing, we created momentum for ourselves.”
Duke won the game’s first three draw controls and took a 2-1 lead behind tallies by North and Crutchfield. Scoring went back and forth over the next 10 minutes, with aggressive play on the defensive end allowing the Blue Devils to widen the margin to three on North’s 40th goal of the season.
Duke’s defensive unit forced a Syracuse shot clock violation with 10 minutes remaining in the half before the Orange snapped an eight-minute scoring drought to make it 7-5. However, a Jamie Lockwood stop in the net set up a Fallon to Harney connection for a goal.
The Blue Devils would head into the locker room at the intermission up, 8-6.
Lockwood finished with one save and Cadoux six while four ground balls from sophomore defender Callie Humphrey and three each by senior Anne Slusser and junior Charlotte Tucci helped Duke win the category, 21-18. The Blue Devils also claimed the draw, 20-9, behind seven from Jenner and five from Crutchfield, and outshot the Orange, 35-32.
Duke went 19-of-21 on clearing attempts for the afternoon while limiting Syracuse to 18-of-24.
Riley Donahue headlined the Orange attack with three goals and one assist.
Up next, Duke returns to Koskinen Stadium to host Boston College Saturday, April 7. Opening draw is slated for 12 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.