DURHAM, N.C. – Ninth-ranked Duke used a complete game effort to top Ohio State, 15-9, Saturday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium. The win improved the Blue Devils to 11-4 on the spring (2-3 ACC), sending the squad into next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship on a wave of momentum.
Coming off of a win Wednesday evening at Davidson, Duke fired 24 shots to the Buckeyes’ 22 and won the ground ball battle by a 15-14 margin. Ohio State held a 15-11 edge in draw controls for the game, but the Blue Devils won the category in the second half en route to the victory.
Four Blue Devils turned in multi-goal performances, led by senior Makenzie Hommel, who matched a career-high with five scores and six points overall. Sophomore Taylor Trimble posted her second hat trick of the week, following up a three-goal outing Wednesday at Davidson with four against the Buckeyes. Freshman Kelci Smesko also finished with four points (1g, 3a) and sophomore Kerrin Maurer added three (1g, 2a), with her 26 assists on the spring moving her into a tie for ninth on Duke’s single-season charts.
Smesko notched the first goal of the game less than two minutes in, and found Hommel twice a short while later to give the Blue Devils an early 3-1 advantage in the game. After a couple of turnovers on both ends of the field, the two teams traded goals over the next few possessions before Duke closed the period on a 4-1 run to take a 7-3 lead into the locker room at the break.
Ohio State responded at the start of the second half, pulling within three on a score by Kaila Gottlick. Trimble then tallied a goal on an extra-man opportunity and Maurer bounced one past the Buckeyes’ Tori DeScenza in the net to make it 9-4 in the Blue Devils’ favor.
Ohio State leading scorer Katie Chase recorded her team’s next three goal, but Duke answered each time, with Hommel netting her fifth tally at the 8:49 mark to bring the score to 13-7. After junior defender Tara Stokes forced a caused turnover, the Blue Devils earned another extra-man opportunity, with freshman Maddy Acton converting for the score. Senior Alyssa Ogle found Trimble less than minute later to give the home squad its largest lead of the contest at 15-7. The Buckeyes tacked on two scores in the final 1:10 of regulation, but Duke hung on to win by a six-goal margin.
The Blue Devil defense held its opponent to single-digit scoring for the eighth time this season and second this week, with seven different defenders registering caused turnovers. Junior Molly Quirke paced the team with two and also picked up two ground balls in the win. Trimble won four draw controls to go with her four-goal performance, and Maurer posted a career-best three.
Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea totaled seven saves, improving her mark in the net to 7-3 on the season. DeScenza and Caitlin Hester combined for four saves in the Buckeyes’ loss.
With the conclusion of the ACC regular season, Duke earns the No. 4 seed in the championship and will face fifth-seeded Virginia Thursday, Apr. 25 at 1 p.m. at North Carolina’s Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. The game is slated to be broadcast live on RSN.
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