It was wire-to-wire domination for the 18th-ranked Blue Devils Thursday night, as they jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
After a tough loss to one of the top teams in the nation last Sunday, Duke looked to secure another win before entering a a difficult stretch in the schedule. And they did just that against Wofford, a fledgling program in just its third year. The Blue Devils didn’t take it easy on the Terriers and made sure to establish themselves from the opening whistle, easily winning 20-5 at Koskinen Stadium.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “This is our first midweek game that we’ve had to manage and the conditions were less than ideal with the wet field. And I thought our kids did a really good job. I thought we were very deliberate on offense and really executed in terms of the things that we wanted to focus on tonight. I think defensively we were able to switch in and out of some things and limit the opportunities that Wofford saw tonight.”
Less than twenty-three seconds into the contest, the Blue Devils (2-1) scored their first goal after easily winning the draw, already seeming clear that they were going to run away with this one. In just the first ten minutes, they made their run, jumping to a 12-0 lead after winning twelve draws in a row.
After the Terriers (0-1) had tarried away over half of the first half, they were finally able to get on the board off of a turnover by the Blue Devils, but still trailed 12-1. The Blue Devils responded and only let Wofford get in one more goal before halftime. When the halftime horn sounded, Duke led 15-2.
“We just came off a really tough loss against Northwestern, so we were really excited to get back in there,” said sophomore Veronica Hineman. “And our mentality going in was just to shove it down their throats and I think we did that.”
There wasn’t much work for the Blue Devils to do in the second half other than keep a hold of their double-figure lead, and their play reflected that. No longer needing to break the offensive gates open, they played back and gave their offensive more time for every shot. But taking the extra time didn’t matter, as the Blue Devils expanded on their lead from the first half, eventually winning by 15 despite only scoring five goals in the second half.
“We were being really deliberate trying to work on an offense we felt needed some attention and we really were trying to force the girls to score in certain ways,” said Kimel. “Our goal tonight was to dictate - dictate pace, dictate tempo, dictate on defense, and I thought we accomplished that.”
The Blue Devils have gotten off to a historic start offensively, scoring 20 goals or more for the third straight game, a first in program history. Duke has got it done by getting everyone involved. In today’s match it was sophomore midfielder Veronica Hineman who showed up for the Blue Devils, scoring a career-high four goals. Freshman attacker Caroline DeBellis continued her hot start, tallying at least five points for her third match in a row.
“We need to keep getting comfortable in our offensive sets and girls have to continue to have the confidence to go to goal hard,” Kimel said. “If we continue to work on our shooting I think we have a lot of people that can help us. We want to be a diverse, versatile offense that isn’t reliant on just one or two people. One of our big goals is we have at least five or six people in the box score scoring every game and we’ve accomplished that so far this season. [We have a] big test this Sunday against Navy and we’ll see if we can make that continue.”
After a relatively easy match against the Terriers, the Blue Devils won’t have it quite so easy this weekend, as they travel to Annapolis, Md., to take on No. 13 Navy Sunday at 12 p.m. for their first road-trip of the season.
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