CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The sixth-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team outscored No. 9 Virginia 7-2 in the second half to top the Cavaliers by a 13-7 score Saturday afternoon in Atlantic Coast Conference action in Klöckner Stadium. The Blue Devils improved to 9-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play while collecting their fifth consecutive win and third this season over a ranked opponent.
Senior attacker Makenzie Hommel led all players with four goals and junior Maddy Morrissey added three as Duke outshot the Cavaliers (5-5, 0-3 ACC) by a 27-21 margin. Meanwhile, freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea picked up her fifth win, matching a season-best performance with 12 saves.
“Kelsey was really patient, and I think our defense gave her shots that she could save,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “Our whole defensive unit did a great job of buckling down in the second half. This game was a huge ACC win on the road. Our kids did an awesome job all week preparing, and I’m really happy to have a good win.”
Both teams looked to attack the cage early, with Virginia striking first on a tally by Christine Donovan 40 seconds in to the game. Hommel recorded the first two Duke goals to give her a team-high 25 on the spring, making the score 2-2 with 18:56 remaining in the period.
The lead changed hands two more times before the end of the half, as Hommel collected her team-leading sixth hat trick of the season to give the Blue Devils a two-goal advantage at 6-4. Juniors Maddy Morrissey and Molly Quirke also found the back of the net and the squad’s defensive unit held the Cavaliers scoreless for a nine-minute stretch, but Virginia’s Casey Bocklet registered a goal with 1:52 remaining to cut Duke’s lead to 6-5 at the intermission.
Sophomore Taylor Trimble scored on an assist from classmate Kerrin Maurer eight minutes into the second period to push it back to a two-goal margin at 7-5. Momentum continued to shift in Duke’s favor as senior Alyssa Ogle beat Virginia goalkeeper Liz Colgan one-on-one following a Cavalier turnover and Morrissey notched her second goal of the afternoon to extend the Blue Devils’ lead to 9-5 with 17:45 to play.
“We had a great first half, and I think coming into the second half, when it was close, we knew we needed to work a little bit harder on offense,” Hommel said. “We had a couple long possessions that we kept dodging hard, re-dodging and then ultimately were able to find someone wide open, which was great.”
After Virginia’s Caroline McTiernan and Ashlee Warner tallied back-to-back goals, Duke freshmen Maddy Acton and Kelci Smesko responded with a pair of scores. Hommel and Maurer tacked on goals before the end of regulation as Duke closed the game on a 4-0 run to post its fifth consecutive victory.
“In the second half, our kids did a great job of winning the draw,” Kimel said. “We had really good defensive stops and then some of those opportunities that we pushed on created great momentum for us, and we capitalized on that a few times to give us that really good surge there in the second 15 minutes.”
For the game, the Blue Devils led in shots, 27-21, and ground balls, 11-4, while committing a season-low six turnovers in the contest. Junior Taylor Virden won a team-high four draw controls while seniors Mie Graham and Lauren Martin logged one caused turnover each. The defense also held its opponent to single-digit scoring for the third consecutive game and sixth time on the season.
Virginia won the draw controls category, 13-9, and was led in scoring by Bocklet, who finished with two goals and one assist. Colgan made six stops in goal in the Cavalier loss.
Duke has now won five of the last seven meetings with Virginia, and has not dropped a regular season game at Klöckner Stadium since the 1999 season.
The Blue Devils face another tough ACC opponent next week as they return to Koskinen Stadium to host No. 3 North Carolina Thursday, March 28. Opening draw is set for 7 p.m., with the game slated to be broadcast live on the ACC Digital Network.