DURHAM, N.C. – The ninth-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team could not overcome a slow start, falling to Virginia Tech by an 11-6 margin Saturday at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in ACC play while surrendering back-to-back losses for the first time since February of 2016.
The Hokies capitalized on a 5-0 run to start the contest, improving to 7-2 on the season and 2-0 in conference action.
“Virginia Tech’s zone defense was very good, and we didn’t do a good job of executing or really even getting some of the looks we wanted to generate,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “Some of it was us and some of it was them – they did a really nice job. Defensively, I don’t think we did a great job defending their dodging looks. We knew what they were going to be, and we just did not step up until the second half.”
The defenses controlled the first 10 minutes of play until Virginia Tech got on the board at the 19:55 mark. Marissa Davey of the Hokies netted two of her four tallies on the day during the team’s opening run. Sophomore midfielder Ellie Majure ended the Duke scoring drought with 5:13 remaining in the half, finishing on a feed from sophomore Olivia Jenner to bring the score to 5-1 at the intermission.
Virginia Tech goalkeeper Meagh Graham notched five saves against 11 Blue Devil shots in the opening period while Duke freshman Gabbe Cadoux came off the bench to record one first-half stop in the cage.
Freshman midfielder Catherine Cordrey scored on a free position opportunity 17 seconds in the second half, but the Hokies responded with another 5-0 spurt that widened the gap to 10-2 with 21:27 remaining.
Duke starting goalkeeper Jamie Lockwood returned to the net and contributed back-to-back saves that set up a free position goal by senior Kitty Morrissey. That sparked a 3-0 run by the Blue Devils, with sophomore Ella Bonafede and junior Maddie Crutchfield also adding tallies. Crutchfield’s goal, a rebound off of an initial shot, save and ground ball pickup, cut it to 10-5 with 10:33 to play.
Led by Lockwood, Duke turned in another solid defensive stand but saw Virginia Tech score again on a man-up opportunity. Junior Kyra Harney added a final tally on a Stuart Humphrey assist with 3:26 left on the clock, but the Blue Devils ran out of time to continue the rally.
Lockwood finished with five saves and Cadoux two while Graham had 11 in goal for the Hokies.
“Gabbe did a really great job of coming in and making a difference,” Kimel said. “Likewise, when we switched back to Jamie in the second half, I thought Jamie came in and did great. It’s a huge testament to her character and toughness to kind of get pulled and then go back in and perform really well in the second half. We played better defensively in the second half.”
Senior defender Maura Schwitter registered three caused turnovers and Harney two as Duke accounted for eight of Virginia Tech’s 13 turnovers on the afternoon. The Blue Devils had the edge at the draw, 12-7, behind a career-high seven draws by Crutchfield, but were unable to capitalize on the advantage in that category.
The Hokies recorded 32 shots to 28 by Duke and won the ground ball battle, 21-18.
Davey’s four markers led all players in the contest, and Tristan McGinley and Emma Harden added two goals each for Virginia Tech in the win.
The Blue Devils look to turn around their two-game skid next Saturday, March 11 at Louisville. The ACC contest is slated for 12 p.m.