Led by a record-breaking performance from Charlotte North, the Blue Devils cruised past Presbyterian in a dominating 20-0 shutout.
North, a Dallas native, scored the first goal of the contest just 24 seconds into the start of play and did not slow down, tallying three assists over the next four minutes to give No. 24 Duke (2-0) a 4-0 lead with 25:11 left in the first half.
“I think that it’s a testament to my teammates. Those assists don’t come without my teammates cutting hard and finishing on the eight-meter,” North said of her performance. “Our new coach Brooke [Griffin] she has insane vision as a player and she has instilled that in out attacking unit. We have worked a lot individually and as a group assisting more getting the ball working, dodging hard and then making that one more play to the open girl.”
From there, the team did not look back, entering the break up 16-0. At halftime, North had registered six assists – two apiece to Olivia Jenner, Olivia Rubin and Abby Landry–to go along with four goals for herself. The sophomore finished the game with 11 points to set a program record for most points in a contest, breaking a record she had held among others.
“The most impressive part of [Charlotte’s] day was the fact that she had so many assists because working on that part of the game and developing that this year has been a really big focus for her,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “To have the vision to see the openings and for people to finish on the other end was really great. We know Charlotte can score, but really, really pleased with how well she saw the field today.”
North’s offensive outburst however, would not have been possible without Jenner’s performance at the draw. The senior captain secured the first five draws of the contest for the Blue Devils en route to Duke controlling the draw 17-4. Jenner stuffed the stat sheet with three points, four ground balls, two caused turnovers and six draw controls. Her younger sister, freshman Maddie Jenner, also inherited the “draw” genes, controlling five of her own to go along two goals.
“We used a lot of people today on the draw which was great. Both Maddie and Liv [Olivia] had a good day winning the ball to themselves and I think our circle guys did a great job working together,” Kimel said. “A big focus today was to work together when the ball hit the ground to put ourselves in a position to win the ball.”
Despite 11 different scorers and 13 players recording a point, the Blue Devils strong defensive play should not be overlooked. Regardless of the opponent, holding any team to a shutout is a tough feat to accomplish. Duke’s last shutout was in 2013, when it defeated the very same Blue Hose team 23-0.
The Blue Devils held Presbyterian (0-2) to just 3 shots compared to their 38, forced 10 turnovers and scooped up 17 more ground balls. Junior Callie Humphrey tied Jenner with four ground balls while Michelle Staggers and Charlotte Tucci each caused two turnovers.
“We felt like we could have been tighter against Villanova in transition and so that was a big focal point for us today,” Kimel said. “Our guys did a good job of not fouling, but putting pressure on their kids carrying the ball up the field. A lot of the turnovers that we created were between the 30s and our defenders were able to recover the ground balls. One more thing we checked off our list coming off the last game that we wanted to make sure was a focus today.”
Despite the dominant performance, a point of improvement for Duke is cutting down on turnovers. The Blue Devils coughed up the ball 16 times – including nine in the second half – partially due to the pace at which they were playing and early season jitters.
“That is an area which pretty typical early in the year where you are working on things and chemistry. A lot of turnovers came when we were pushing the tempo on offense which we wanted our girls to do today,” Kimel said. “That’s an area that we will put some attention on in the next couple of days as we get ready to play a great opponent on Sunday.”
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Duke will have its hardest test to date and an early litmus test on how good this team can be Sunday afternoon on the road at the new Ryan Fieldhouse against No. 7 Northwestern. Last season the Blue Devils edged the Wildcats 9-8 at home, holding off a late rally after holding a 6-2 halftime lead. Northwestern won its only contest of the season 21-11 over Louisville and will play Dartmouth on Friday.