PHILADELPHIA—In a defensive battle, it was expected that Duke’s final possessions to try to tie it in the final two minutes would not come easy.

However, two self-inflicted turnovers from Charlotte North and Katie Cronin, not the Quakers' defense, left the No. 15 Blue Devils to walk out of historic Franklin Field Saturday with a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to No. 8 Penn that saw three lead changes and six ties in a back-and-forth affair.

"There's not a lot you can say about that. It is just unfortunate," head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "We had plenty of opportunities. We did not do a great job of finishing our shots or running our offense in the second half."

After Duke knotted the score at 9-9 with five minutes left following two consecutive North goals, Chelsea Kibler controlled the ensuing draw for the Quakers. Thirty seconds later, Zoe Belodeau scored off a pass from Taylyn Stadler to give the home squad the lead. Although Penn controlled the next draw, a save from Jamie Lockwood—who had nine on the day in her first start of the season—gave the Blue Devils hope.

On the offensive end, North lost the ball on a turnover caused by Lauren O’Mara, giving the Quakers the ball back, but the Duke defense stood up once again and forced its third shot-clock violation of the afternoon to earn another chance with 68 seconds left. 

“I was really pleased with our defensive effort,” Kimel said. “Jamie did an awesome job and I thought our defense really stepped up. Penn has a really precision-driven offense and our defense did a good job of limiting their looks.”

But a turnover from Cronin caused by Katy Junior with 45 seconds remaining gave Penn the possession to run out the clock. 

The Blue Devils knew they were going to have to be precise against a stingy Penn defense. Quaker goalkeeper Mikaila Cheeseman, who had eight saves on the day, ranks third the nation in save percentage at .622, and Penn is seventh nationally in scoring defense.

The Blue Devils entered the break holding all the momentum. After trailing 5-4 with 5:11 left in the first half, Olivia Jenner controlled the draw and took it to the house herself for her second goal of the game to tie the contest. Then, after another Lockwood save at the doorstep, Cronin converted with the shot clock under 10 ticks to give Duke a 6-5 lead at the end of the period.

But the tables turned to start the second half, with two yellow cards assessed to Blue Devils, giving the Quakers an advantage. In the next 15 minutes, Penn went on a 4-1 run to gain a 9-7 advantage. Bosco, Stadler, Erin Barry and Robin Panzarella chipped in on the run, while Cronin had Duke’s lone tally.

"I thought they were both some pretty tough cards. You've got to recover," Kimel said. "We went down two but we tied the game. We just did not do a great job in those closing minutes to put ourselves in a position to win."

With the Blue Devils needing two goals, they turned to sophomore sensation North for production. The attacker notched her 39th and 40th goals of the season on isolation sets from the left side to will Duke back into the contest and finished with four goals.

"Everyone was standing around and watching Charlotte try to do her thing, which is great because that was the call we were looking for, but it is tough when the unit does not work together cohesively at all except in spurts," Kimel said. "For our offense who I think has the ability to score a lot of goals, we just expect more from them."

The game started perfectly for the Blue Devils, with North and Jenner scoring early to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. The Quakers quickly responded with four goals—a score and three assists coming from Gabby Rosenzweig—to take the two-goal lead before an answer from Catriona Barry and North to knot the game at 4.

The two squads were virtually even in all major stats. Although Duke outshot Penn 29-28, the Quakers had two more shots on goal. The Blue Devils won the battle at the draw 12-9, but Penn did a better job of securing ground balls and taking care of the ball.

Duke looks to bounce back against Davidson back at home Monday afternoon. The Blue Devils are 13-0 historically against the Wildcats, who are 6-1 this season, with their lone loss coming against William & Mary last Thursday.