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Harney's career day carries Duke women's lacrosse past Hokies

<p>Sophomore Kyra Harney scored a career-best five goals as the Blue Devils routed Virginia Tech in their ACC opener Saturday afternoon.</p>

Sophomore Kyra Harney scored a career-best five goals as the Blue Devils routed Virginia Tech in their ACC opener Saturday afternoon.

Among the many memories sophomore attacker Kyra Harney is collecting as a Blue Devil, she will never forget a specific day in her career—the overcast afternoon of March 6, 2016.

Led by Harney’s career-high five goals, No. 15 Duke opened ACC action by blitzing Virginia Tech 13-4 Saturday at Thompson Field in Blacksburg, Va. After beating No. 13 Pennsylvania 12-6 Feb. 28, the Blue Devils extended their winning streak at the Hokies’ territory to 8-0.

“For us to get our first ACC win on the road and play so solidly on both ends of the field is a testament to how hard our kids have worked in this off-week to just continue to build our chemistry and, at both ends of the field, continue to work on the draw and our loose-ball game,” head coach Kerstin Kimel told “I think all that work paid off today.”

It paid off indeed. Duke (4-3, 1-0 in the ACC) outshot Virginia Tech 31-22 and won the draw-control battle 14-5.

The Blue Devils—who entered Saturday’s game averaging 11.5 goals per contest—only needed 66 seconds to break the deadlock thanks to an unassisted goal from senior midfielder Maddy Acton. In a nearly 23-minute span, Kimel’s squad extended its lead to 6-0, with three scores coming from Harney.

Although the Hokies (5-4, 0-1) trimmed the visitors’ lead to 6-2 before intermission, the second half was a mirror of the first period.

Paced by two goals and one assist from sophomore midfielder Maddie Crutchfield, the Blue Devils rattled off a second 6-0 run to build themselves a 12-2 advantage. Harney delivered the final blow—her 19th goal of the season—with 1:22 left to play, following Hokie scores from Meghan Macera and Kristine Loscalzo.

Senior striker Kelci Smesko could not find the back of the net Saturday but registered two assists, and freshman attacker Olivia Jenner added one goal—her 11th this season—and one feed to her tally.

Although much of the action came at the other end of the field, senior goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea stayed active, posting 12 saves. Virginia Tech’s Loscalzo and Tristan McGinley entered the contest tied for fifth-best mark in scoring nationwide with 17 goals apiece, but Duryea allowed just one goal from the Hokie tandem.

“[Duryea] and our defense were great today,” Kimel said. “Virginia Tech has some really nice scorers and they can score in a couple of different ways. Virginia Tech had some long defensive sets and our kids played really patiently. When they finally got around to taking a shot, Kelsey did a good job of holding her position and tracking the ball well.”

The Blue Devils return to action Wednesday afternoon, when they host Georgetown at Koskinen Stadium at 3 p.m. After stepping back outside conference play agains the Hoyas, Duke will ramp up for its ACC home opener against No. 12 Louisville Saturday at 1 p.m.


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