Duke collected an easy victory with a 19-10 win over Navy at Koskinen Stadium Sunday on the strength of an outstanding first half offensively.
Senior Lindsay Gilbride led the No. 6 Blue Devils with four goals and two assists, with two goals coming in the first four minutes of the game. Duke (9-1) created an early hole for Navy (9-2) as the Blue Devils outscored the Midshipmen 7-0 in the opening 10 minutes of the first half.
“The big thing is that we wanted to set the tone,” head coach Kerstin Kimel said. “We wanted to make sure, playing a younger team, that we would put ourselves in a position where we set the tone from the get-go.”
Duke’s momentum slowed in the last 20 minutes of the first half, and the Blue Devils scored four goals before going into the locker room with an 11-2 lead.
After halftime, Gilbride once again took control with a goal at the 27:23 mark to put the Blue Devils up 10.
“Lindsey is one of our main leaders on offense,” Kimel said. “She did a great job of making sure the offense did the things that we worked on in practice.”
The points emphasized in practice–ball movement, balance and placement–continued to translate onto the field in the second half. With three more quick goals from the Duke offense, including two by junior Christie Kaestner, the first 10 minutes of the second half closely resembled the tone that was set before halftime.
In the last 10 minutes, the Navy offense caught a spark and scored five consecutive goals, but by that point, the outcome had been long decided.
In the end, the Blue Devil defense, along with goalie Kaitlin Gaiss’s eight saves, proved too much for the Midshipmen. Gaiss, a freshman, has fit comfortably into her new role after sophomore goalie Mollie Mackler’s season-ending injury.
“Kaitlin is playing the way she is capable of playing,” Kimel said. “She is a fantastic goalie, especially given the situation. She hadn’t played at all [because] we were redshirting her. I think she has done an exceptional job.”
Gaiss has attributed her success on the field to hard work and practice during the year.
“I never considered that this was a redshirt year to hang out, but its been a year where I can develop and get better as a goalie,” Gaiss said. “I think that I have done that every single day. My attitude is to always support my team, and I went in there and tried my best.”
For Kimel, the performance of Gaiss, as well as the offensive jumpstart from Gilbride and Kaestner, was just a small part of the victory on Sunday.
“I think it was a total team effort,” Kimel said.