DeBellis' 5 goals not enough as No. 25 Duke women's lacrosse falls in home opener to No. 13 Johns Hopkins

Kerry Nease helped Duke to a favorable draw control record despite its loss to Johns Hopkins.
Kerry Nease helped Duke to a favorable draw control record despite its loss to Johns Hopkins.

The Blue Devils dropped another. 

Despite a neck-and-neck first half Saturday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium, No. 13 Johns Hopkins pulled away in the third quarter, this time for good. No. 25 Duke fell in its home opener 17-13. Blue Jay graduate goalie Madison Doucette locked down the net after the first 20 minutes of play, tallying 12 total saves as the Blue Devil attack peppered her with shots on goal. 

“We didn't pick our spots as well as we could have, and I think that contributed,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel after the game. “That and not making some stops. We didn't capitalize on some good opportunities that we have, because we had the ball. We had the ball plenty of times.”

Out of the halftime break, the Blue Devils (1-2) overcame an initial lost draw with a strong minute-long defensive set and forced turnover. Junior attacker Carly Bernstein took the ball from behind the crease herself, circling around before firing a lefty sidearm shot past Doucette. The score was even again, 10-10. 

But the dream died quickly. 

Johns Hopkins (3-0) scored the next three, putting some distance between itself and the home team for the first time on the day — it hadn’t previously led by more than one. First, it was Bailey Cheetham. She drove around the right side of the net before sneaking her shot past graduate goalie Courtney Kaufman. Ashley Mackin had an unassisted score herself just more than one minute later, and at a two-goal deficit, Kimel decided to make a change between the pipes. 

“We weren't making stops,” Kimel said. “If you look at the stat sheet, we're positive in most of the columns except for our stops … it was the whole unit.”

Redshirt sophomore Kennedy Everson didn’t fare much better against the barrage of third-quarter shots. She faced six shots, and all three that were on goal made it into the back of the net. Graduate defender Kay Conway got beat by Taylor Hoss driving into the eight-meter, and Hoss was able to capitalize on the separation and convert a pass from her classmate MK Lescault into a 13-10 advantage. 

Caroline DeBellis’ fifth goal of the day, another quick shot crossing in front of the net assisted by Bernstein, couldn’t stop the bleeding. The damage was too great, and even with ample opportunities in the final 10 minutes to cut into the four-goal deficit, Doucette’s brick wall between the pipes and the Blue Jays’ switch to man defense maintained that advantage. 

“The fact that we got them out of their defenses shows a lot,” Kimel said. 

While the matchup may have been billed as a blowout, the Blue Devil offense came out firing. After the 22-goal showing against High Point last weekend, the flurry of activity near the net should not have been surprising. However, against Johns Hopkins typically airtight zone defense, DeBellis broke through. She grabbed a ball from senior attacker Katie DeSimone off a bounce, which she immediately flicked over Doucette’s outstretched stick. 

DeBellis’ next goal looked eerily similar, but this time it was junior midfielder Mattie Shearer with the feed before the quick shot. “Sweet Caroline,” DeBellis’ goal song blared from the Koskinen Stadium speakers four times in the first 10:12. By the end of the first frame, Duke had irked out a 6-4 lead, almost entirely on the back of its fifth-year attacker. 

The lopsided score differed from the stat sheet in a few places — especially on the draw. The Blue Devils are still working out their best solution to the 6-foot-2 hole left by Maddie Jenner in the circle. Saturday, their recipe worked. Duke won the draw 21-11. While the wins weren’t clean, they gave the home team opportunities. Freshman midfielder Ellie White took the majority of the draws, acting in a sort of face-off-get-off role. When the team needed a boost, Kimel switched it up, putting junior midfielder Kerry Nease in the circle. She ended with five draw controls to go with her two goals on the day. 

“Honestly, I think the draw was a huge bright spot for us,” Kimel said. 

The Blue Devils do not have long to recover before they are back on their home field Sunday afternoon against Winthrop. After that, ACC play begins. 

Rachael Kaplan profile
Rachael Kaplan | Sports Managing Editor

Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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