Despite the cold temperatures raging outside of Fish Field House Saturday, Duke and Boston College brought the heat to Chestnut Hill, Mass., as they battled it out in the first game of ACC play. By the end of the game, though the Blue Devils had worked hard, the Eagles worked harder.
No. 4 Boston College sent No. 10 Duke packing with a dominant 17-8 victory, avenging a close 16-15 loss in Durham nearly a year earlier. Junior Kayla Martello led the way with five goals for the Eagles, backed up by four goal performances from graduate students Jenn Medjid and Cassidy Weeks. Meanwhile, Katie DeSimone led the Blue Devil contingent as she added three more tallies for 14 goals on the season thus far.
“I think that we played really hard, and I think some of our statistics show that,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “I do not think we played a particularly smart game.”
Boston College showed dominant play all game long, picking up where they left off last season after making it to the NCAA Division I championship. Nonetheless, Duke (3-1, 0-1 in the ACC) refused to give up as the contest wore on, with the matchup devolving into a fourth quarter brawl. As the Eagles got too comfortable with their lead and made a slew of unforced errors, the Blue Devils saw their opportunity and pounced. Their hero came in the form of DeSimone, who notched a hat trick with lighting speed, taking only a minute and a half to pull Duke within four of Boston College with a score of 12-8.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, they were hit by the age-old punchline of too little, too late. After an aptly called timeout by Eagles’ head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein, Boston College righted the ship as they tallied five unanswered goals to ensure their victory. With 44 seconds left in the game, Medjid sealed Duke’s fate as she fired a rocket past freshman goalie Madison Drebing off a brilliant pass from junior Andrea Reynolds.
“We capitalized on a few mistakes that [Boston College] had made…we were also a little looser because we had nothing to lose at that point,” said Kimel. “I just don’t think that we capitalized on the [offensive] end of the field and that just put momentum on their side for a lot of the game unfortunately.”
So close to challenging the Eagles (3-1, 1-0 in the ACC) yet so far from coming home with a win, the Blue Devils started off on the wrong foot from the get-go. Once Martello opened the scoring a mere 38 seconds in, it seemed as though Duke would be in for a rude awakening. From then on, Boston College delivered blow after blow. With sophomore Mckenna Davis’s field vision and the stick work of Martello, Weeks and Medjid, the Eagles looked nearly unstoppable throughout the first quarter as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead. The one bright spot in the Blue Devils’ dark cloud was the lone goal from Maddie Jenner, who took a quick stick shot toward the left post off an assist from Caroline DeBellis.
Once they attained the lead, Boston College never looked back. Even as both teams executed their defenses with precision, the Eagles always had the upper hand. They came out victorious on 50-50 ground balls, interrupted Duke’s offense and made their plays look like pure poetry. Above all, they dominated the Blue Devils in draw controls 20-9 as Jenner struggled to add to her NCAA record. Coupled with the big time performance from graduate student Rachel Hall in goal, Boston College did their best to prove their loss at Duke in 2022 was nothing but a fluke. However, a team’s performance in February is not always indicative of championship success.
“It was our first big test and I think it’s really important that our team doesn’t focus on what the scoreboard said but more the quality of our play,” said Kimel. “I believe we are a top team, we just have to put it all together.”
The Blue Devils will return home for a matchup against Liberty Tuesday at 4 p.m. in hopes of getting back to their winning ways with the help of Koskinen magic.
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Mackenzie Sheehy is a Trinity first-year and Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.