BLACKSBURG, Va. – A late rally by the 13th-ranked Blue Devils fell short in a 17-14 loss at No. 25 Virginia Tech Saturday. Duke slipped to 3-1 on the season and 0-1 in ACC play.
Senior Grace Fallon paced the attack with seven points – including a career-high five assists – in the high-scoring affair. Senior Maddie Crutchfield and freshman Charlotte North both registered hat tricks while junior Olivia Jenner won 12 of the Blue Devils’ 18 draw controls on the afternoon.
“Virginia Tech is a very solid team and their defense is really good,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “It took our young group a little while to adjust to the pace and the aggressive style they played. Obviously the second half showed that once we settled in a little bit, we found the holes and we were successful. It wasn’t a great day for us defensively and I think that had a lot to do with the fact that their kids just drove really hard to the net … There will be a lot to learn from here and a lot to build on, but really proud of how we just dug in during the second half and chipped away and made it a game.”
Trailing by seven at halftime, Duke scored right out of the gate in the second period, with Jenner taking the draw and scoring on a feed from Fallon. Freshman midfielder Abby Landry followed with a free position goal that cut it to 10-5. Junior Ellie Majure and Fallon went back-to-back as the Blue Devils continued to chip away at the deficit.
“We were more aggressive and we weren’t timid moving the ball,” Kimel said. “When we settled down and got ourselves organized and we actually were trying to create the looks that we wanted, we were successful. I still think that we need to finish a little bit better, but there’s a lot to build on.”
Virginia Tech’s Tristan McGinley recorded her fifth tally seven minutes into the second half, putting the margin back at five. Scoring continued to go back and forth, as did the draw, with freshman midfielder Catriona Barry collecting several draw controls for Duke.
The Blue Devils came up with three straight stops on the defensive end and strung together three unanswered tallies. Crutchfield buried a pass from Fallon that slashed the margin to three at 14-11.
Anchored by the play of Meagh Graham in goal, the Hokies rattled off three consecutive scores inside the final 10 minutes. Freshman Charlotte North countered with a pair of markers and Crutchfield notched her fourth to make the score 17-14 with 2:33 left on the clock. However, the Blue Devils were unable to keep the rally going in the waning minutes.
The teams swapped tallies to open the contest before the Hokies jumped out to a 4-1 advantage behind two markers each from Marissa Davey and Paige Petty. Turnovers plagued both sides over the next few possessions but Virginia Tech tacked on three more goals to stretch it to 7-1 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
Jenner broke up the home team’s scoring run, causing a turnover on a clear attempt by the Hokies. North provided the assist on Jenner’s ensuing goal but Virginia Tech answered right back following a win off the draw.
Draw controls were even at the intermission, and despite a late tally by freshman Mary Markwordt, the Hokies took a 10-3 lead into the second half.
Duke outshot Virginia Tech, 32-29, for the contest while the Hokies won the ground ball battle, 18-14. Draw controls (18-18) and turnovers (12-12) were even.
Up next, Duke returns to Durham to kick off a six-game home stand beginning with a matchup against Stanford Friday, March 2 at 3 p.m.