From the moment the final whistle blew to end their victory against Virginia Tech Saturday, the Blue Devils knew they had the chance to make history with the longest winning streak in program history in their next game.

And after a tense first half, Duke settled down, took care of business and cemented its spot in the record books.

The No. 4 Blue Devils rolled over No. 18 Notre Dame 3-0 at Alumni Stadium in South Bend, Ind., Thursday night. Duke was tested in the first half and entered the break without a goal, but a miscue by the Fighting Irish defense and a second-half goal by senior Imani Dorsey broke the game open. 

“We didn’t quite have the energy we’ve had most of the year, especially early in matches,” Duke head coach Robbie Church said. “Second half, we kept stressing energy, energy and we just kept the ball a little better too…. We had much more desire to go forward.”

The game started off slowly, with both teams probing the opposing defenses. The Fighting Irish (5-3-2, 1-1-0 in the ACC) had the best chance of the first half in the 26th minute, forcing senior goalkeeper EJ Procter to make a spectacular save to keep the ball out of the net. Junior forward Kayla McCoy was the Blue Devils’ most dangerous player offensively, going close to goal several times but shooting wide.

“[EJ] had a really good warmup, and she was really ready to go,” Church said. “She hasn’t had a ton of work all year long because we’re so good defensively in front of her, but she was really ready to go tonight.”

Duke (9-1-0, 2-0-0) came out strong in the second half, testing the Notre Dame defense with a cross toward Dorsey that floated a couple inches too high. The Fighting Irish almost struck immediately afterwards in the 56th minute with several great chances, including one that clattered against the crossbar, but the Blue Devils managed to clear the danger.

The breakthrough finally came in the 60th minute. Notre Dame’s defense misplayed a cross from Dorsey, catching goalkeeper Brooke Littman leaning the wrong way as the ball rolled into the net for an own goal.

The goal helped settle the Blue Devils, who controlled the game leading up to their second goal in the 74th minute. Dorsey was again the scorer, as she fooled Littman with a magnificent strike from the corner of the box. This continued the senior’s stellar campaign, as she now has a team-high eight goals on the season to lead the team.

“She’s definitely having a special year,” Church said. “She continued to work hard and lead us on the field with communication and running at players.”

The final goal came just two minutes later in the 76th minute, when redshirt senior Malinda Allen was the quickest to react to senior Schuyler DeBree’s free kick across the face of the goal and slotted it into the net. 

Duke’s school-record nine-game winning streak now includes three wins against ranked teams, including a 4-0 demolition of then-No. 3 West Virginia on the road in Morgantown. 

“I am thrilled that this group has set the record,” Church said. “They have really, really come to play every day. They have played hard, they have trained hard, they are committed on the sidelines, they are unselfish playing on the field. I am really happy this team has set the record. It’s a team record.”

The Blue Devils will look to tack on another win to their streak and continue their perfect start to ACC play Sunday when Pittsburgh comes to Durham.