After losing three straight games to three ranked opponents, No. 10 Duke earned its second straight victory with a 21-2 romp of Davidson Thursday at Koskinen Stadium. It was the second game in a row, and fourth time this season, the Blue Devils held opponents to single-digit scoring.
“We stayed with the play,” Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel said. “Davidson’s a really scrappy team, and I think we did a really good job of having a concentrated effort to beat them.”
Duke (5-3) kicked off the scoring immediately when senior Maddy Morrissey beat Wildcat goalkeeper Katy Boyle 20 seconds into the game. Play was quiet for the next 11 minutes until Davidson midfielder Mary Leonard scored her sixth goal of the season to tie the contest at one goal apiece.
And then, the Blue Devils’ offensive onslaught began. Duke scored 10 unanswered goals, holding the Wildcats scoreless for 20:23 before attack Erin Doherty beat Blue Devil goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea to break her team's scoreless streak 2:11 into the second half. Duke’s fun wasn’t over yet, however—the Blue Devils scored another 10 unanswered to close out the game.
“We scored a lot of goals,” Kimel said. “Across the board we did an amazing job, and I felt like in the second half we did an even better job on the offensive end.”
Duke had four starters who notched a hat trick against Davidson—Morrissey, attacks Kerrin Maurer and Kelci Smesko and midfielder Taylor Trimble. Off the bench, junior Katie Trees also tallied a career-high three goals, and attacks Maddy Acton and Brigid Smith added two scores each.
“I was really happy that we had so many people contribute,” Kimel said. “Our team played really unselfishly tonight. Our goal was to come out and have a really clean game… and tonight was that.”
On the defensive end, defender Taylor Virden led the Blue Devils with five draw controls and four caused turnovers—padding her team lead in both categories with 29 and 13, respectively. Virden and the defensive unit held Davidson (1-4) to only six shots and six draw controls, drawing 32 fouls and causing the Wildcats to turn the ball over 11 times. Duke also was able to convert on all 13 of its clears.
“The past couple of games and this entire season, our defense has been younger and its been a work in progress,” Virden said. “But as a unit we’re gaining more chemistry with each other, and [today] is just a testament to how were progressing over the season.”
Virden also attested Duke’s offensive prowess to its solid performance on the defensive side of the field.
“The offense feeds off of what we do on defense,” she said. “When they get a sick goal… we feed off of that, too. It’s fuel for both of us.”
The Blue Devils have only one more game—a home contest Sunday against Jacksonville—before entering the toughest stretch of its ACC slate, with contests against No. 6 Virginia and No. 2 Syracuse. Until then, Duke has been using their remaining nonconference games to tune-up after failing to defeat the three ranked opponents it has faced already this season.
Kimel feels that, after its dominant performance against the Wildcats, her team is ready to face the Dolphins and continue into conference play.
“I wanted us to have a performance where our girls are really sharp and focused… and tonight is a great example,” Kimel said. “Our focus is one game at a time, getting better from now until Sunday to be ready to play a really tough Jacksonville team. Our goal is to build momentum in this three-game stretch heading into our next round of ACC games.”