No. 6 Duke cruised to a 25-4 win against Elon in its season-opener Friday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium, tying a program record for most goals in a game in the process.
“We have waited for this for a long time,” junior attack Kerrin Maurer said. “To come out here and get the jitters out. We really played as a unit. It was a great thing to have everyone out there and playing as a team.”
The game was the Phoenix’s first in program history, and the fledgling squad was overmatched by one of college lacrosse's perennial powers.
The contest was also homecoming for Elon head coach Josh Hexter, who was an associate head coach at Duke from 2005-12. Assistant coach Virginia Crotty played attack in Durham from 2008-11.
“Josh and Virginia are a huge part of Duke lacrosse and I am really pleased that they are coaching not too far away,” Duke head coach Kirsten Kimel said. “It was very fitting that this was their first game.”
The Blue Devils (1-0) had no trouble finding offensive firepower in the opening minutes, with junior midfielder Taylor Trimble finding the net off a pass from fellow midfielder Erin Tenneson to open the scoring.
But the Phoenix (0-1) gained momentum when freshman Sloane Kessler snuck the ball past Blue Devil goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea to tie the game at one.
From there, it was all Duke.
The Blue Devils scored 11 unanswered goals for the next 23 minutes before Elon finally found the net to slice into the growing lead to make the score 12-2.
Maurer, who was the team’s leading scorer in 2013, spearheaded the Duke attack with four goals and an assist in the first period. She added another a pair of tallies in the second half to finish the day with six goals.
“We are a very veteran offense,” Maurer said. “We have a lot of girls returning. The freshmen are coming in and fitting in well.”
Duke showed no signs of slowing down in the second half, exhibiting the offensive sparks that helped build the first half advantage.
Twelve other Blue Devil players found the net, including freshman attack Hayley Shaffer her scored the first two goals of her collegiate career.
“Elon was switching their defenses on us, which we expected they might ,” Kimel said. “We did a pretty good job switching in and out of our offenses to match their defenses. It is what we expect from our group. We are experienced and have good speed.”
While the Blue Devils cashed in on the offensive end, the defensive unit held the Phoenix to 13 shots and forced 10 turnovers. Senior defender Taylor Virden helped anchor the defensive lines with a team-high four ground balls.
All-American goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea also added four saves on the day
“As a defense we really worked as a unit,” Duryea said. “We were really good on putting pressure on the ball and not letting them dictate the pace.”
Duke will have a day off before playing Louisville at home on Sunday. But for now, the team is just happy to be back on the field again.
“Once we got back into the game, back in Koskinen Stadium, we found our groove,” Kimel said.