CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Senior Olivia Jenner buried what would prove to be the game-winning goal – her sixth tally of the evening – inside the final five minutes of a thrilling 14-13 ACC quarterfinal victory over Notre Dame Wednesday evening.
Jenner and sophomore Charlotte North combined for 10 goals and junior goalkeeper Gabbe Cadoux bolstered the performance with nine saves as sixth-seeded Duke (10-7) advanced to the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2016.
Olivia Jenner matched her career-high scoring output with the six tallies and teamed up with sister Maddie Jenner to combine for 10 of the squad’s 14 draw controls, while North’s four goals put her at 72 for the season, breaking the program’s season scoring record.
“First and foremost, I’m so happy for our team,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “This is a game we really needed to win on a lot of levels. We’ve put together a couple of really good weeks of practice in preparation and I don’t think our performances have reflected that until tonight. Our kids saved their best game of the season for tonight.”
Olivia Jenner and junior midfielder Lindsey Reynolds lifted the Blue Devils to an early 2-0 advantage and Cadoux bolstered the effort with three saves in the opening 10 minutes. The strong defensive performance allowed Duke to extend its lead to 4-2 with 12:50 to play in the period.
The third-seeded and sixth-ranked Irish (13-4) strung together three straight tallies to swing the score to 6-5 in their favor. Maddie Jenner won the next two draw controls and Olivia Jenner’s third goal of the evening knotted up the score. North then fired into the back of the net on an Eva Greco assist with 1.6 seconds remaining in the half to send the Blue Devils into the intermission up, 7-6.
Shots were even at halftime with each team notching 15 apiece, while Duke held an 8-6 advantage at the draw.
“We did a great job figuring out the draw,” Kimel said. “Defensively, I can’t say enough about how Michelle [Staggers] played their [Maddie Howe] and the whole team effort we gave down there – from Gabbe to the unit.”
A North marker less than a minute into the second period saw the second team All-ACC honoree match former Blue Devil Caroline Cryer for Duke’s season goals record at 71. The Irish countered with back-to-back tallies before a Cadoux save set up sophomore Katie Cronin on the other end of the field. Cronin’s second goal of the contest put the Blue Devils back in front at 9-8.
The teams traded tallies, with Olivia Jenner tacking on two more and Greco finding fellow freshman Olivia Rubin to put the margin at two with 12:36 to play. After the Irish knotted up the contest again over the next five minutes, North regained the lead for Duke with her record-setting marker. Cadoux came up big again and Olivia Jenner notched the game winner with just over four minutes remaining.
Maddie Howe of Notre Dame narrowed the margin back to one and the Irish won the ensuing draw control. Junior defender Callie Humphrey drew a critical charge with 2:26 left on the clock, and following a shot clock violation by the Blue Devils, Olivia Jenner came up with a caused turnover on a Notre Dame clear attempt, sealing the one-goal victory.
“Offensively, I feel like we played with so much poise,” Kimel said. “We were calm, we were composed, we read their defense, we took good shots. I’m just so proud of our kids. I’m so happy for them – they really deserve this win. All their hard work in the past couple of weeks really showed tonight.”
Senior defender Charlotte Tucci and sophomore midfielder Catriona Barry registered three ground balls each as Duke took the category, 13-12, and Humphrey added a team-best two caused turnovers. The Irish led in draw controls, 15-14, and shots for the contest, 30-26, though both teams placed 22 shots on goal.
Howe and Andie Aldave finished with four goals each for Notre Dame in the loss.
With the quarterfinal victory, the Blue Devils move on to Friday’s semifinals, where they face second-seeded North Carolina at 8 p.m. on RSN and ACC Network Extra from Boston College’s Alumni Stadium.