CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – After surrendering a loss to North Carolina in last week’s ACC regular season finale, the Duke women’s lacrosse team hung tough with the second-seeded Tar Heels in Saturday’s conference championship semifinal but ultimately fell by a 16-11 score.
The sixth-seeded Blue Devils (10-8) led by one at the intermission but were outscored 10-4 in the second half despite holding a 20-9 advantage at the draw for the game.
Senior attacker Olivia Jenner, named a first team All-ACC selection and a Tewaaration Award nominee this week, headlined Duke’s effort with four goals and a game-high 12 draw controls. Sophomore midfielder Katie Cronin also finished with a hat trick – the second of her career – and junior goalkeeper Gabbe Cadoux registered eight saves in the loss.
Duke’s scoring leader in Wednesday night’s quarterfinal victory, Olivia Jenner grabbed momentum early on Saturday, recording the Blue Devils’ first two goals. Fueled by Cadoux stops between the pipes, Duke’s attack made it 3-1 less than five minutes in, as sophomore Charlotte North also chimed in with a tally.
North and Olivia Jenner teamed up to capitalize on a failed clear attempt by North Carolina before two straight tallies by the Tar Heels swung the contest to 5-4 in their favor. Scoring went back and forth over the next five-minute stretch, with North, Olivia Jenner and sophomore midfielder Abby Landry all finding the back of the net. A solid defensive possession by the Blue Devils preserved a 7-6 lead for the squad heading into halftime.
After both teams scored to start the second period, North Carolina notched four unanswered tallies to regain the upper hand at 11-8.
Olivia Jenner’s eighth draw control of the contest set up an eventual free position goal by Cronin that broke up the Tar Heels’ run. However, several stops by North Carolina goalkeeper Elise Hennessey allowed the Tar Heels to add on three more markers. Despite late two scores by Cronin, North Carolina came away with the five-goal victory to advance to an ACC title match meeting with top-seeded Boston College Sunday.
For the contest, Duke led in shots by a 32-29 margin and saw sophomore midfielder Catriona Barry supply four draw controls to help the Blue Devils take the category. The Tar Heels received four goals each from Kara Klages and Jamie Ortega, as well as nine saves from Hennessey, who entered the game in the 27th minute.
With two goals and one assist, North brought her 2019 points total to 96, matching former Blue Devil and 2005 Tewaaraton winner Katie Chrest Erbe for the program’s season record.
Duke hosts a final regular season contest Sunday, May 5 against VCU at Koskinen Stadium. The 12 p.m. contest marks Senior Day for the program.