With 10:48 remaining in the third quarter and the score 9-4 in favor of Boston College, junior attacker Katie DeSimone caused a turnover from Hunter Roman, who turned around and checked DeSimone. Roman was dealt a yellow card, and it seemed like the tides might be turning in the Blue Devils’ favor.
But the Eagles had called a timeout when Roman still had possession, and the referees determined that, though the contact was deemed dangerous, because it was after the timeout the call was waived off. Even strength, Boston College ball.
That’s how the day went for Duke. Despite a fourth-quarter surge, the ninth-seeded Blue Devils (8-10, 1-8 in the ACC) fell hard Wednesday to the first-seeded Eagles (14-3, 8-1) 15-9 in a game reminiscent of the two squads’ early-season matchup. With the defeat, head coach Kerstin Kimel ends her 26th season at the helm with an 8-10 record and just one regular-season conference win to her name.
The door was closed on Duke’s season late in the fourth quarter, when a combination of controversial calls and sloppy play put the contest to bed. After Boston College’s Jenn Medjid sent one past freshman goalie Madison Drebing, the Blue Devils started to fight back into the contest. Started off by none other than graduate attacker Maddie Jenner, Duke went on a three-goal run to pull it within six of the Eagles’ 15 goals. For a brief moment, a glimmer of hope was on the horizon.
Like the rain that began to pour, however, the Blue Devils’ luck soon ran out. DeSimone charged down the middle of the eight-meter arc and sent one flying past Boston College goalie Shea Dolce. At the same time the ball went into the back of the net, a whistle was called on the play, sending the referees over to the sidelines for a video review. In the same way things seemed to go all day, DeSimone was issued a crease violation and the goal was called back
This pattern of almost-maybes and too-little-too-lates characterized Duke all game long. While the first half did not see the Blue Devils get blown out of the water, the Eagles’ high-powered transition offense was lethal and their defense was stifling. Jenner and DeSimone were pressured high above the eight, shutting off the two main cogs in the Duke offensive machine. Goalies Sophia LeRose and Drebing did their share on the day to keep their opponents at bay, but Boston College looked near unbeatable as it ended the first 30 minutes of play up 9-4.
Coming out of halftime, it seemed as if the yellow card incident would spark a flame within the Blue Devils in the third quarter. Boston College was initially dominant in the aftermath of the controversial call, but a staunch Duke defense finally earned possession after a slew of wide shots by both teams. As has been the case all season long, when the Blue Devils needed a hero, Jenner showed up. The graduate student got the ball with her back toward the cage, but it was no problem for the draw specialist as she spun and fired the ball past Dolce. Duke appeared to be firing on all cylinders as the defense tightened up and the offense found its rhythm.
And yet, the spark induced by the yellow card quickly fizzled out. Boston College grabbed three goals of its own to close out the quarter. Junior Annabelle Hasselback converted on a free-position goal before Eagles star midfielder Belle Smith tallied a goal and an assist to amass 12 goals for Boston College on the day. Even more impressive, the Eagles had nine different goalscorers to help build their cushy lead and ultimately earn the victory.
With the loss, the Blue Devils exit the ACC tournament in the quarterfinals for the third-straight year. Due to its regular-season performance, Duke will not earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.
Rachael Kaplan contributed reporting.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Mackenzie Sheehy is a Trinity first-year and Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.