DURHAM, N.C. – Senior Ellie Majure buried a Catherine Cordrey pass 31 seconds into overtime to send 15th-ranked Duke past 23rd-ranked Virginia Tech, 11-10, in a thrilling ACC opener Saturday at Duke's Cohan Fields.
Trailing 9-6 with 10 minutes to play in the second half, the Blue Devils (3-1, 1-0 ACC) rallied to pull back within one on senior attacker Olivia Jenner's third score of the day with 4:46 remaining. Following a series of turnovers on both sides, sophomore midfielder Katie Cronin came up with a critical caused turnover on a Virginia Tech possession with 20 seconds left on the clock. Cronin took the ball down and scored to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation.
Cronin also won the first draw control in overtime, setting up Cordrey and Majure. The game winner marked Majure's first goal of the season.
“I'm just so proud of our girls,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “I'm disappointed that the weather was so bad because I really feel like the way we play, we would have performed a lot better against their zone than we did. I just think our kids were shaky with their sticks with the weather. I think they lacked the confidence to move the ball and move their bodies the way they normally do. That said, I think our kids showed a ton of grit and resilience to be down three late in the game and just never give up and still believe we could win.”
The contest shifted from Koskinen Stadium to the Cohan Fields turf due to heavy rain in the area for the past several days. The rain persisted throughout the contest, factoring into the combined 37 turnovers by the squads.
The score went back and forth for much of the first half and the teams headed into the locker rooms at the intermission knotted at 5-5. Junior goalkeeper Gabbe Cadoux had four of her 10 saves in the opening half to anchor a strong defensive performance, while Morgan Berman had five for the Hokies in that span.
“We did a phenomenal job dealing with adversity,” said junior defender Callie Humphrey. “Everybody had each other's backs. We were ready for those ground balls, second slides. Everyone was very connected and playing on a string, which is exactly what you want your defense to do.”
Sophomore Charlotte North jumpstarted Duke's day offensively, putting away two tallies to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 advantage midway through the first period. Freshmen midfielders Maddie Jenner and Olivia Rubin also chimed in as the Blue Devils traded goals with the visiting Hokies.
North and Olivia Jenner both finished with hat tricks and Jenner had a team-high five draw controls, while on the defensive side of the ball, senior Charlotte Tucci racked up four ground balls and senior Michelle Staggers and Humphrey three each. Humphrey and Cronin led the team with two caused turnovers each and 10 different Blue Devils recorded a caused turnover in the game.
“Huge props to our kids on the draw circle, to Liv Jenner for taking the ball hard to goal to start gaining us some momentum back,” Kimel said. “Katie Cronin – she is just something else. To take the ball away, run it back and then score for us and to win the draw at the end of the game ... We ran a set and the kids executed it perfectly and Ellie Majure stuck it. I'm just so happy for our kids because the way we performed is not indicative of the team that we are this season. To come away with a win against a really tough team, I'm really proud of them.”
Virginia Tech was led offensively by a hat trick from Julia Bolte and two goals each by Mary Claire Byrne, Paige Petty and Emma Crooks. The Hokies held a slight edge in ground balls, 17-16, and at the draw, 12-11.
Duke improved to 3-1 on the season with the 1-0 start in ACC play and will next take the field Friday at 4 p.m. against William & Mary. The non-conference tilt will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra from Koskinen Stadium.