Koskinen Stadium was awash with storylines on Sunday afternoon as the Blue Devils took on the Davidson Wildcats.
Davidson is where Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel started her career, before quickly coming to Duke to start the school’s women’s lacrosse program. The Wildcats may be unranked, but they started the afternoon off undefeated (spoiler alert: that changed in the span of a couple hours). And, perhaps most significant, Duke draw control specialist Maddie Jenner came into the matchup just nine draws away from setting the program record—and passing her sister Olivia Jenner at the top of that list.
The Blue Devils blew by the Wildcats 20-3 to tie the Blue Devil’s program record for the best start through 11 games, handing Davidson their first loss of the season.
And Jenner, who had been knocking on the door all season, finally got her record.
"I'm just so proud of Maddie," Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "She represents our program, Duke Athletics and Duke University in the best possible way that you could."
One: 15:00, Quarter 1
Jenner went right to work as the opening whistle was blown, easily securing the first draw control of the game. And the Blue Devil offense was nearly as fast, with junior Olivia Carner splitting the Davidson defense to open up the scoring just over 30 seconds into the match.
Two: 14:24, Quarter 1
Another chance, another draw control for Jenner. And in near identical fashion to the first goal, the Blue Devils wasted no time in tallying another score. This time Carner was on the assist and Duke’s second-highest point-scorer Katie DeSimone found herself all alone in the center of the arc for an easy score.
The next draw was secured by Carner but, after a messy start to the possession, Jenner was the one to find the back of the net for the Blue Devils—after all, it was her day.
Three: 11:58, Quarter 1
A Duke turnover resulted in Davidson’s first possession—and shot—of the game. But, as strong as their offense was, the Blue Devil defense held tough too. Freshman goalkeeper Kennedy Everson got the start in goal and made the first save of the day for either team. The Blue Devils took full advantage of the transition opportunity, with graduate student and the nation’s leader in points Catriona Barry sprinting the field to put Duke up 4-0 with her fortieth goal of the season.
Four: 7:59, Quarter 1
After a brief lull in Jenner’s run of draw controls, she found her fourth—halfway to tying the program record for draw controls. During that lull, the Blue Devils had tacked on three more goals, including two by Katie DeSimone for a quick first-quarter hat trick, and led 7-0. This possession, however, was short lived, with Abby Landry and Eva Greco combining for a beautiful goal just over 30 seconds after the draw.
Five: 7:26, Quarter 1
The latter half of the quarter saw a considerable decrease both in goals and draw controls from Duke (10-1, 2-1 in the ACC), as the Blue Devils tacked on just one more goal, courtesy of junior Anna Callahan, in the final seven-and-a-half minutes. The Wildcats got more chances at goal, but continued to see their generally potent offense struggle. At the whistle, the Blue Devils led 9-0 and Jenner stood just four draw controls away from history.
Six: 15:00, Quarter 2
As she did in the first quarter, Jenner started off the second quarter winning the draw. And after a short, but messy, sequence that included a Caroline DeBellis shot that hit the post, DeBellis got a bit of revenge, scoring her 10th goal of the season to put Duke up 10-0 and start the running clock.
Seven: 12:42, Quarter 2
In first-quarter form, the Blue Devils wasted no time on this possession, marching down the field and scoring in less than 30 seconds. Jenner was now tantalizingly close, even if she may not have realized it at the time.
“I rewatched the ACC network streaming of our games, so I'd heard the commentators say that it was coming up but I didn't know the [specifics],” Jenner said. “I thought it might be during the Notre Dame game or Liberty but I didn’t [realize] it could’ve been today.”
Tying history: 8:42, Quarter 2
Dominance on the draw control runs in the Jenner family; it wasn’t just any player’s record that Maddie Jenner was tying—it was her sister Olivia’s, who played for Duke from 2016-2019. Over that time she amassed 512 draw controls. Now Maddie had matched her.
The rest of the quarter passed without much fanfare from the Duke offense, scoring just twice to end the half up 13-0. This lines up with a pattern that has been present throughout the Blue Devils’ season—if Duke goes up big in the first quarter, it often takes its foot off the gas a little in the second.
A new program record: 15:00, Quarter 3
History. The undisputed draw control queen. Maddie Jenner, take a bow.
To start the third quarter, Jenner broke a record. With the 513th draw control of her career and her 142nd of the season, Maddie moved into sole possession of the Duke program record.
“I remember in high school, she [Olivia] offhandedly said, ‘You're going to pass me’ and I did not believe her because I did not have that confidence in myself,” Jenner said. “So to have the record is a big confidence booster—really an honor because my sister was so great at it too.”
She wasn’t quite done yet, picking up two more draw controls before calling it a day. Alongside that, her offense decided to pick up the pace a little, tacking on six more goals in the third quarter, leading 19-0 by the time the last period rolled around. While the shutout bid ended in the fourth, as Davidson (6-1) finally found the back of the net, nothing could bring down the Blue Devils. They had stomped a good team and saw Maddie make history—not a bad Sunday afternoon.
“Maddie is the consummate Duke student-athlete,” Kimel said. “She is very intellectual. She's very hardworking. She's very focused. And a lot of what you see in how she plays is due to her personality and that hard work that she puts into being really good at what she does.”
A post-game video honored Jenner, featuring words from her coaches and, to the delight of the team and the Duke faithful, her sister Olivia.
Olivia had not only held the Duke program record for draw controls; she also held the fifth spot in Division I women’s lacrosse history for draw controls. Now, that spot belongs to Maddie and she’s just eight draws away from taking over number four. But neither Maddie nor the team get too caught up in records—the Blue Devils are just looking to win. And with their toughest stretch of the season upcoming, it’s all eyes ahead for the Blue Devils. First up on that stretch is a trip to Notre Dame on Saturday.
“Notre Dame is the best three and five team in the country—everybody knows it,” Kimel said. “[Our team] will not take Notre Dame for granted. Every ACC team is capable of beating another ACC team on a given day. And if you don't show up, ready to put your best foot forward, you're gonna get beat.”
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