DURHAM, N.C. – The Blue Devil attack exploded for eight tallies in the opening 12 minutes to set the tone in Saturday’s season-opening 19-9 victory over Villanova at Koskinen Stadium.
Coming off of a breakout rookie season a year ago, Charlotte North collected a hat trick just over five minutes in, helping to pace 24th-ranked Duke to its highest scoring output in a season opener since 2016.
“What I see is a lot of hard work in the last six, seven months that we’ve put into our offensive unit,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “We had a lot of different people score in a lot of different ways. I love our depth – I love all the different people we have out on the field contributing. And not only did our offensive and midfield units score a lot, they also got the ball back for us a lot.”
North headlined a balanced scoring effort with five goals while junior Catherine Cordrey matched her career-best performance with four tallies. Senior attacker Olivia Jenner also secured a hat trick, surpassing the 100-point mark for her career with three goals and two assists on the day, and picked up right where she left off in the draw circle last year, registering a game-high seven draw controls. Jenner became the 28th player in program history to record 100 career points.
Duke never trailed after opening up 10-1 advantage midway through the first half. Six different Blue Devils found the back of the net during that span, with North accounting for four tallies and Cordrey notching back-to-back markers 14 seconds apart.
“Charlotte, Catherine Cordrey, Liv Jenner – I thought they all really stepped up in terms of running our offense,” Kimel said. “We talked a lot about maintaining the integrity of our systems and trying to do that regardless of what the score was or the momentum in the game. I think the kids did a great job of that today.”
Villanova broke through for three straight goals before Duke went on a 4-0 run to head into halftime leading 14-4. Junior goalkeeper Gabbe Cadoux made five of her six saves on the day in the first 30 minutes, helping to limit the Wildcats to the four scores on 13 shots.
The Blue Devils continued to capitalize at the draw in the second half before rounding out the contest with a 19-11 advantage in the category. Freshman Maddie Jenner had four draw controls to go along with two goals, and sophomore Catriona Barry and freshman Veronica Hineman added three draws each.
Freshman Olivia Rubin recorded her first goal in a Blue Devil uniform with less than six minutes remaining, helping to secure the 10-goal margin of victory. Rubin was one of five freshmen to make their official Duke debut on the field Saturday, joining Eva Greco, Hineman, Maddie Jenner and Alexis Joseph.
On the day, the Blue Devils outshot Villanova by a 32-22 margin and placed 26 of the 32 looks on cage. The Blue Devils also won the ground ball battle, 20-17, and totaled 12 caused turnovers – led by three from Cordrey.
“A 10-goal win is great, it’s a great way to start the entire season,” Olivia Jenner said. “We have two great opponents coming up in Northwestern and Presbyterian so really looking forward to that and taking a lot of the stuff we did well, but also the things we need to work on, and putting that into next week.”
Katie Comerford paced the Wildcats’ attack with two goals and three assists. Villanova goalkeeper Alexa Moro made seven saves after entering the game in the seventh minute.
Duke will be back in Koskinen Stadium Wednesday, hosting Presbyterian in a 4 p.m. contest on ACC Network Extra.