Duke women's lacrosse snaps win streak, scores just 3 goals in crushing loss to Boston College

The Blue Devils suffered their most lopsided loss of the season Saturday against Boston College.
The Blue Devils suffered their most lopsided loss of the season Saturday against Boston College.

As the Eagles’ starting lineup was announced, the Star Wars “Imperial March” theme blared over Koskinen Stadium’s speakers. The evil empire of women’s college lacrosse had arrived, and it was not to be slowed. 

No. 4 Boston College came to Durham Saturday afternoon and simply outplayed Duke. The Blue Devils fell 18-3 as four Eagles earned hat tricks. The defeat, on both Morgan’s Message and Alumni Day (there were 41 present), was Duke’s worst of the season and ended its strong three-game win streak. Shea Dolce, one of seven starters for the visitors on the Tewaaraton watch list, tallied 11 saves to stifle a Blue Devil offense that had been rolling as of late.

“It’s a game we’re going to learn from,” head coach Kerstin Kimel said. “[This was] not the team that we think we are or can be.”

It took just 42 seconds for Boston College to nab its first goal, a man-up shot from Emma LoPinto as she wrapped around redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Kennedy Everson’s right. Rachel Clark scored two in the opening four minutes as she chases senior attacker Katie DeSimone’s leading-scorer title. 

When the Blue Devils (6-5, 2-3 in the ACC) set up for their first true offensive series, they already faced a 5-0 deficit. The Eagles (9-2, 4-1) dominated on the draw, only conceding one of the first six, which they recovered shortly after as Sydney Scales forced the turnover from senior midfielder Katie Keller. Boston College was playing make-it-take-it lacrosse, and it wasn’t missing. 

That first Duke opportunity came on the heels of a rare Eagle turnover — they rank fifth in the country in fewest giveaways per game — and sophomore defender Madison Beale got it out of the defensive zone. A hard foul by Scales just outside the eight-meter put junior midfielder Mattie Shearer on the line for the free-position shot, but her top-shelf attempt missed wide right. The Blue Devils couldn’t even fire off another shot, shoveling the ball over the end line as the shot clock expired. 

“We weren't as quite ready to go as we would have liked to have been,” Kimel said.

Clark took the next shot for the Eagles, but Everson got the high-stick save and the home team cleared with ease. The possession seemed to be going the same way as the previous attempt, with the 90 seconds ticking down as each attempt to penetrate the eight-meter was met with stout Boston College defense and a necessary retreat. With time running out, Keller tried to make herself a lane, then passed down to Shearer off Dolce’s left Shearer then fed a cutting Caroline DeBellis, who slipped it by Dolce at close range to put her team on the board at last. 

The Eagles didn’t like that. Well, Mckenna Davis didn’t like it, driving in right off the draw control win 18 seconds after DeBellis’ goal. Boston College tacked on two more before the first quarter ended. 8-1 Eagles.

The second half began just as the first did, as Kayla Martello found the back of the net twice in a minute and 44 seconds. Duke got its first opportunity of the half after a Courtney Kaufman save on a Clark shot. Beale took it down for the clear, and after another arduous possession, graduate midfielder Lexi Schmalz snuck a pass past Cassidy Weeks’ outstretched stick. DeSimone collected just feet in front of the crease. DeSimone began spinning over her left shoulder, turning back to face the net. Scales committed to defending the spin move, and DeSimone flicked her stick behind her head over her right shoulder, beating Dolce for the highlight-reel score. It did little, however, to cut the deficit: The score then sat at 14-3. 

While the goal was DeSimone’s first of the day, it was her 45th of the season, leading stars like Northwestern’s 2023 Tewaaraton Award winner Izzy Scane and Boston College’s Clark. After a fast break attempt and high shot just more than 10 minutes into the second half, DeSimone went down, seemingly favoring one of her ankles. She walked it off and remained on the field, hitting the post on a free-position attempt just less than four minutes later. 

Kimel tried to adjust and inject some life into a team that just looked outmatched. She swapped Kaufman for Everson in goal with just more than six minutes left in the opening frame. Kaufman started the season between the pipes, but Everson had gotten the nod in the last four, including the three straight wins entering Saturday. Kaufman did provide some much-needed relief, helping limit the Eagles to just four second-quarter goals. However, they tallied five more in the third, and Kimel put sophomore Madison Drebing in the net for the final frame.

The other big adjustment was in the draw circle. Freshman FOGO Ellie White had been sidelined for six games with an ankle injury, and while junior midfielder Kerry Nease had started coming into her own in the circle, with 12 and 16 draw controls against Pittsburgh and Harvard, respectively, she couldn’t gain an edge on Ryan Smith. White, cleared to return, came in after Boston College goal number five, just a few minutes into the first. At first, she didn’t fare much better than Nease — both drew green cards on their first tries in the circle. However, Duke earned a 4-1 advantage on the draw in the second quarter. 

Duke stays at home for the next three games, starting with Eastern Carolina Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the Blue Devil head coach’s final game against her daughter Frances, a fifth-year attacker. 

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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