DURHAM, N.C. - The eighth-ranked Duke women's lacrosse team got out to a fast start and weathered multiple Vanderbilt scoring runs to outlast the Commodores, 15-12, Saturday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium. Nine different Blue Devils tallied goals and freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea turned in an impressive performance in her first start to help Duke improve to 5-1 on the spring.
"I was really pleased with how we started the game," said head coach Kerstin Kimel. "Obviously we gave up a couple of runs and we needed to do a better job of sticking with our game plan. But I am grateful that we were in a tight game. We haven't been in a tight game yet and we are going to be heading into some tough games coming up in the next couple of weeks."
Sophomore Kerrin Maurer paced the squad offensively, matching a career-high with a four-goal performance. The Setauket, N.Y., native also dished two assists to push her Atlantic Coast Conference-leading total to 14 helpers through six games. Senior Makenzie Hommel, junior Maddy Morrissey and sophomore Taylor Trimble also netted two goals apiece to lead a balanced scoring effort by Duke.
The Blue Devils scored five goals in the first 10 minutes of play and extended their run to 8-0 on scores by junior Chelsea Landon and Maurer. Kelly Chandler put the Commodores on the board with an unassisted goal at the 14:08 mark in the first half, and after a quick response by Duke's Molly Quirke, Vanderbilt found the back of the net five times over the next 10 minutes to cut it to 10-6 at the intermission.
Duryea tallied seven goals and the Blue Devils held a 10-7 advantage in draw controls and a 14-13 edge in shots during the first period. Vanderbilt won the ground ball battle in the first half by an 8-3 margin.
The Commodores continued their scoring run after the break, adding four more goals to knot the game at 10-10 with just under 22 minutes to play. Freshman Maddy Acton won the ensuing draw control and Maurer converted on a free position attempt to put Duke back in front. The two teams traded goals over the next couple possessions before Morrissey and Maurer capitalized on a pair of man-up opportunities and sophomore Erin Tenneson added a score just before the final buzzer to send the Blue Devils to the 15-12 victory.
"We conceded a big lead but we kind of circled back," Kimel said. "I thought our kids did a good job of holding strong in the last 10 to 12 minutes our defense did a great job. It is one of those games that we are going to learn a lot from, move forward and get ready to play a tough Georgetown team next weekend."
Junior defender Taylor Virden hauled in a career-best six draw controls and Trimble recorded five as Duke won the category, 15-14. Virden also posted a team-high two caused turnovers in the win. After struggling on free position attempts in last week's loss to Maryland, the Blue Devils were perfect in 8-meter attempts Saturday with a 5-of-5 showing as a team.
Duryea finished with 12 saves in goal for the first victory of her collegiate career. The rookie from Beverly, Mass., also picked up three ground balls in the contest, while her counterpart, Chelsea Pasfield, totaled seven saves for the Commodores.
Up next for Duke is a visit to Washington, D.C. to face No. 11 Georgetown on Saturday March 9 at 1 p.m.