CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Junior Olivia Jenner guided 22nd-ranked Duke to an early lead Saturday at fifth-ranked North Carolina, but the Blue Devils could not contain the Tar Heels, falling 20-10 in the ACC regular season finale at Kenan Stadium.
Jenner matched her career high with four goals and claimed eight draw controls to give Duke (7-8, 2-5 ACC) a narrow 16-15 advantage at the draw. North Carolina (12-3, 6-1 ACC) received seven tallies from Jamie Ortega in the win.
Jenner took the opening draw all the way to the net and added two more tallies inside the first five minutes to propel the Blue Devils to a 3-1 advantage. After a couple of early stops by junior goalkeeper Jamie Lockwood, the teams traded tallies, with a goal by North Carolina’s Marisa DiVietro knotting up the score at 5-5.
“I was so happy with how we came out today,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “The girls had a really good week of practice and I think the way we came out in the first half is what I thought we were capable of. We had really good momentum – not just the fact that we were scoring and had a lead, but how we were scoring was really great. To start the game off, we had some really good stops defensively as well and some good saves. We expected North Carolina to make a run and we couldn’t stop that run.”
A 5-0 run by the Tar Heels put the deficit at four with nine minutes remaining in the half. North Carolina would make it 10 unanswered to bring the score to 14-5 heading into the intermission.
Ortega of the Tar Heels notched her fifth of the day to open the second half before Duke fought back for a tally by freshman midfielder Catriona Barry. However, North Carolina tacked on three more before freshman Charlotte North recorded her 46th goal of the season to make the score 18-7.
Jenner added her fourth of the afternoon at the 2:51 mark and then found North in transition off the draw. North would secure her 10th hat trick of the season with a final tally just before the end of regulation.
“When we chose to really push the ball in transition and keep the ball unsettled, we had really good looks, which was part of our game plan,” Kimel said. “We just didn’t do a great job of executing it during that run that they had.”
The Tar Heels totaled 33 shots to 23 by the Blue Devils and won the ground ball battle, 12-8. Duke finished just 2-of-7 at the eight-meter and saw Lockwood (5) and sophomore Gabbe Cadoux (1) combine for six saves. North Carolina’s Elise Hennessey and Taylor Moreno split time in the net, combining for eight stops.
Up next, the Blue Devils play host for the 2018 ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship, which gets underway Thursday at Koskinen Stadium. Duke will enter the tournament as the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 seed Virginia Tech at 8 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
For ACC Championship ticket information, visit goduke.com/tickets.