DURHAM, N.C. – In an ACC quarterfinal that included two severe weather delays spanning over two hours, a furious rally by the sixth-seeded Blue Devils fell just short in a 13-12 loss to third-seeded Virginia Tech Thursday at Koskinen Stadium.
Trailing 13-7 with 8:48 remaining in regulation, Duke returned from a 78-minute break in the action to rattle off five straight scores, narrowing the margin to one. Virginia Tech won the ensuing draw control but a caused turnover by sophomore defender Callie Humphrey gave the Blue Devils possession with a minute to play. A final look by Duke was just off the mark, sealing the one-goal victory for the Hokies just before 1 a.m. Friday morning – five hours after the game began.
Freshman goalkeeper Chase Henriquez was outstanding in her first career start between the pipes, finishing with 14 saves against the nation’s 12th-ranked team. Duke also received seven goals from freshman attacker Charlotte North, with three of those tallies coming during the final nine-minute stretch.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “Any time you’re in a weather situation it’s really hard. I don’t think we came out of the first delay really well. We got on our heels pretty quickly. We made stops defensively but struggled offensively … For us to then have to go into another delay, and then come out and go on a run that put us in a position to win the game was awesome.”
Henriquez made a stop that set up the Blue Devils’ first tally of the evening. The defensive unit then forced a shot clock violation and another Virginia Tech turnover that led to a free position goal by North.
North’s 54th point of the season tied the program’s freshman points record held by Katie Chrest, who was announced earlier on Thursday a member of the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame 2018 induction class. Following a Maddie Crutchfield marker that made it 3-2, North broke the record, scoring on an assist from fellow freshman Katie Cronin.
The Hokies knotted the score two more times inside the final 10 minutes of the half before retaking the lead at 6-5 with 3:10 remaining. The score would hold through the remainder of the period.
Severe weather delayed the start of the second half for 69 minutes, with play resuming at 10:30 p.m. Henriquez opened the period with several more saves but Virginia Tech would take its largest lead of the evening at 9-5 on a Sarah Lubnow goal.
Turnovers plagued the Blue Devils until North was able to work her way inside for her fourth tally. The Hokies responded with three straight, including two by Mary Claire Byrne, that stretched the margin to six midway through the half.
Junior Jamie Lockwood took over in the net for a five-minute span before Henriquez re-entered with 10 minutes remaining. Senior Kyra Harney finished on a feed from freshman Mary Markwordt, bringing the score to 13-7 before inclement weather descended upon Durham once again.
“It’s a lot to ask of a walk-on freshman to step into what was arguably the biggest game of the year and have the performance that she did,” Kimel said of Henriquez. “We felt she deserved to start and she did a great job.”
For the contest, Duke placed 20 of its 27 shots on goal but committed 20 turnovers to 17 by Virginia Tech. The Hokies registered 34 shots and won the ground ball battle, 21-16, while the Blue Devils claimed the draw, 16-11, behind 11 draws from junior attacker Olivia Jenner and three from freshman midfielder Catriona Barry.
Paige Petty’s four goals paced the Virginia Tech attack and goalkeeper Meagh Graham totaled eight saves on the other end.
The ACC Championship continues Friday at Koskinen Stadium with No. 1 seed Boston College (18-0) taking on No. 5 seed Notre Dame (10-8) in the 5 p.m. semifinal and the Hokies (13-5) advancing to face No. 2 seed North Carolina (13-3) in the second semifinal at 8 p.m.
Duke will honor its senior class Sunday, May 6 when the squad welcomes East Carolina to Koskinen at 3 p.m.