NEWTON, Mass. – Six goals from senior Carolyn Davis – to go along with strong second-half defense – propelled the No. 5 Duke women’s lacrosse team to a 14-9 victory over ACC rival Boston College Saturday afternoon at a rain-soaked Newton Campus Field in Newton, Mass. The Blue Devils move to 10-3 (3-1 ACC) with today’s road win.
“We did a really good job maintaining our composure in less than ideal conditions,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “To BC’s credit, they played really physical and aggressive and our players handled that pressure very well given that it was so wet and cold.”
“Once we got ourselves going defensively, we did a good job of taking away things they were looking for, and we transitioned the ball well on offense. On attack I felt like we generated really good looks at the cage.”
The Blue Devils erased a slow start – and Boston College’s early 3-0 lead with just three minutes elapsed in the contest – to take a 7-6 lead into halftime. Davis got the Blue Devils on the board with a free position goal at 26:08 and Duke posted a 4-0 run in the first half to start taking control.
The Eagles had opted for a slow tempo, holding onto possession of the ball for several minutes before Kim Imbesi came up with a big save to give it back to Duke. The Blue Devils would take their turn holding the ball to find a good shot, before receiving their second score from junior Lindsay Gilbride. Gilbride worked a cut through the right side and was fed a perfect pass from Caroline Cryer from behind the cage.
That would cut it to 3-2, before the Eagles’ Brittany Wilton netted the squad’s fourth of the day with 15:15 remaining in the first period to again go up by two. Duke pulled back to within one at 4-3, as Emma Hamm got on the scoreboard with a one-timer from Cryer with 11:25 left.
Gilbride tied it up at 6:34 with an unassisted goal, starting with the ball at the top of the arc and dodging through the middle to knot it at four and erase BC’s early edge.
Hamm then gave Duke its first lead of the game – Duke’s third straight goal – off an assist from Davis to put the visitors in front, 5-4 just moments later. Next, Davis scored on a free position chance with 5:17 showing on the clock to give the Blue Devils a two-goal lead and round out a 4-0 Duke run. But BC would score two straight late in the half to re-tie it at six with just 54 seconds on the clock.
Sarah Bullard made sure to secure Duke’s first-half lead, whipping a free position shot into the top of the cage with just four ticks remaining the give the Blue Devils the 7-6 lead entering halftime.
Duke found the net first in the second frame, after maintaining possession for the first three minutes. Hamm held the ball behind the net and found a streaking Davis in front for the team’s eighth goal. Davis then added a free position shot to make it 9-6 Duke with 26:22 left to play.
Neither team scored for the next seven minutes, but Gilbride broke the drought at 19:02. Following a BC foul on Duke’s defensive end, Danielle Kachulis blew past the Eagles’ midfield and found an open Gilbride on the far left, who turned and bounced it in to stretch the Blue Devil lead to four at 10-6.
BC scored for the first time in 13 minutes on a free position goal at 17:39 to make it 10-7. But Davis cashed in on a pair of unassisted goals to make it 12-7, firing the first one from the top of the 12-meter arc past the goalie and the second off a dodge in front.
BC made it 12-8 before Bullard tacked on an unassisted goal from the left to make it 13-8 with 11:14 left. BC scored next, a free position shot at 6:18, but the Blue Devils were careful to hold possession as time wound down and owning the four-goal advantage. Bullard added another unassisted goal to make it 14-9 with 1:38 on the clock.
Duke outscored the Eagles 7-3 in the second half.
Behind Davis’ six, Duke saw hat tricks for Bullard and Gilbride while Hamm netted two goals. BC’s Lauren Costello had three goals to lead the Eagles’ offense. Cryer led the Blue Devils with a pair of assists. Davis now has 46 goals on the season to lead the squad.
Duke’s strong second-half defense was spearheaded by Christina Germinario, Sara Giedgowd, and Kachulis, while Bullard also caused three turnovers down that end. In the cage, Imbesi had eight saves on the day, four in each half.
Duke will return home for the first time in almost a month when it hosts No. 4 North Carolina next Fri., April 17 at 7 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium.