Career days from Jenner, DeSimone help Duke women’s lacrosse blow past Elon on the road

Draw control specialist Maddie Jenner's career day led Duke to a history-making win.
Draw control specialist Maddie Jenner's career day led Duke to a history-making win.

ELON, N.C.—In their second game in three days, the Blue Devils made their first road trip of the season: a quick 45-minute drive up to Elon, N.C., for a clash with the Phoenix.

And coming off a 22-3 win over Garden-Webb on Friday, Duke continued to ride that momentum on Sunday.

No. 8 Duke eclipsed Elon 25-5 in the elements at Rudd Field, guided by a career performance on the draw from senior Maddie Jenner and another pair of big offensive days from sophomore Katie DeSimone and graduate student Catriona Barry.

“I think this was a great test for us, even though it's a quick road trip here,” said Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel. “The weather obviously was not ideal. When you play lacrosse in February, you're gonna have crazy weather sometimes, but really, really happy with the quality of our play, despite the fact that it was a road game, despite the weather—we had a 40-degree temperature swing in the last 24 hours. I thought our kids came out and played a really great game, all things considered.”

By the end of the day, the Blue Devils had gone on a 6-0 scoring run, a 7-0 scoring run and a 8-0 scoring run, with some other intermittent goals thrown in there, ultimately culminating in their 25-5 win—an even larger margin of victory than their 19-point win over Gardner-Webb. After setting a career-high in goals scored on Friday with six, DeSimone one-upped it against Elon, scoring seven. Jenner turned in a career-high in the draw circle, tallying 19 draw controls, which totaled three more than her previous high and was just one away from the program record. The 25 goals scored are tied for the second-most in a Duke game all-time and the 39 total points set a new program record. 

To open up the afternoon’s scoring, Barry potted two quick goals, and it looked like the Blue Devils (2-0) were going to quickly run away with Sunday’s matchup. But the Phoenix rose from the ashes of their early deficit and began to battle back, trading goals with Duke, before finding themselves down just 3-2 halfway through the first quarter. Unfortunately for Elon, in both the fight between mythical creatures and lacrosse teams, the Blue Devils were just too strong. 

A DeSimone response to Elon’s second goal gave the Blue Devils a two-goal cushion and, after that, they didn’t bother looking back. Draw control specialist Jenner and newly-turned attacker Barry combined for Duke’s next four goals, each tallying two, with Jenner’s goals marking her first scores of the season. DeSimone wrapped up the period’s scoring with her third goal of the quarter, marking a quick hat trick for her, matching Barry’s total through the first 15 minutes. 

Going into the second quarter, the Blue Devils were up a comfortable 9-2. 

The first five minutes of the second quarter were a more even-keeled affair, with Duke’s Katie Keller scoring early on a free-position shot, but Elon (0-2) responded quickly to end a 7-0 Blue Devil scoring run. In similar fashion to their pair of goals in the first quarter, the Phoenix played a bit of back-and-forth with the Blue Devils, trading goals but still finding themselves down 11-4 at the end of it. And, in a continued bit of deja-vu, the Blue Devils decided it was high-time that they went on another scoring run. 

Over the last nine-and-a-half minutes of the second quarter, the Blue Devils went on a 6-0 run that featured five unique goal-scorers, with the usual suspect of DeSimone being the only Blue Devil to score twice in that period. In that time, the Blue Devils amassed a 10-goal lead, meaning the clock would continue to run even after scores, allowing the rest of the game to pass that much quicker. 

“On a day like this, where the weather isn't great, and it can be kind of tricky with your sticks, and it just can be a little sloppier because it's wet, us having the opportunity to control the tempo and the ball was huge in this game,” said Kimel. “And I think we never really let Elon get any momentum because we were able to win the draw, go down and score pretty quickly.”

Coming out of halftime leading 17-4, Duke was in much the same position that it was coming out of halftime on Friday: maintain the 10-goal lead to keep the clock running, avoid injury, and get as much of the team involved as possible. And it was able to do just that. 

The Phoenix scored early in the third period, bringing them within 12. It would never be closer, as the Duke offense rattled off another offensive run—this one totaling eight goals—that spanned the remainder of the game. As one might expect, DeSimone continued her offensive production, tallying two of the eight, but junior Olivia Carner and redshirt freshman Izzy Marsh also got in on the scoring action. The scores marked each of their first goals of the season and, for Marsh, her pair of scores were the first of her Duke career. 

“I think our offense has done an amazing job over the past couple of days,” DeSimone said. “I think that we just had a really solid game plan going into it and just found the small openings and really threaded the needle from the midfielders to the attack, which is amazing.”

The Blue Devils will get a few days of rest before continuing their stretch of road games with a Friday afternoon matchup at William and Mary. 


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