ELON, N.C. – A first-half scoring outburst and stifling defensive effort guided 15th-ranked Duke to an 18-5 victory at Elon Sunday in non-conference action. Eight different Blue Devils scored as head coach Kerstin Kimel’s squad improved to 5-1 on the season.
Duke used a 21-6 advantage at the draw to dominate possession in the win at Elon’s Rhodes Stadium. Senior attacker Olivia Jenner led the way with six draw controls, while junior midfielder Lindsey Reynolds turned in a career-best five draws and sophomore midfielder Catriona Barry added four. Olivia Jenner and sophomore Charlotte North, who registered the 100th-point of her career in Friday’s victory over William & Mary, headlined a balanced scoring effort with four goals and two assists each.
“On Friday, we felt like there were times we were in the draw play and we just didn’t tough it out to gain possession,” Kimel said. “Today that was a big focus for us – we needed to make sure we stuck with the draw. As they tried to combat what we were doing we did the same thing. I thought the thing that really mattered today was that we were so persistent to come up with the ball.”
Olivia Jenner won the game’s first five draw controls to pace the Blue Devils to a 4-1 lead. A couple of freshmen factored in early as midfielder Olivia Rubin finished on a feed from Olivia Jenner and Veronica Hineman scored on a Rubin assist after forcing an Elon turnover on the other end.
Duke continued to capitalize on momentum from the defensive end, as Olivia Jenner secured a hat trick following an Elon turnover and North followed suit less than a minute later to stretch the score to 9-1.
Barry, junior Catherine Cordrey and senior Ellie Majure all added tallies and Hineman recorded her second caused turnover to set up Rubin’s third goal of the afternoon. The Blue Devils closed out the half on a 6-0 run to lead, 17-2, at the intermission.
The 17 first-half tallies marked the most by a Duke squad in one half since a Feb. 4, 2012 win over Bucknell.
“When you are playing against teams that have a zone, all seven people have to be threats,” Kimel said of the attack. “That’s, in general, what we’ve been working toward so it was great to see Rubin and Hineman get on the board in assisting roles and scoring goals as well. Our defense did a really good job today as well. We were really tough most of the game and I thought we created a lot of turnovers and then gained possession by coming up with the loose balls.”
“Elon did a great job coming in the second half,” Kimel said. “I don’t think we responded to that very well from our standpoint. We only took a couple of shots in the second half. You’re going to have these days. It’s our first weekend where we played two games in three days and I thought to come away with two really resounding wins is a good thing. We had some things we wanted to accomplish in the second half and didn’t, but that all said, happy that we came away with two wins and that we’re healthy.”
For the contest, the Blue Devils outshot Elon, 25-17, placing 22 of their looks on cage. Duke also had the upper hand in ground balls, 16-15, and totaled nine caused turnovers with Hineman accounting for three. The rookie from West Chester, Pa., also registered two goals and an assist in the win.
Duke returns to ACC action next weekend, traveling to Louisville Saturday for a 12 p.m. contest on ACC Network Extra.