Duke women's lacrosse shuts up shop, holds Campbell to 2 goals in Monday night blowout

The Blue Devils celebrate a goal during their weekend win against Virginia.
The Blue Devils celebrate a goal during their weekend win against Virginia.

Hump day came early for No. 23 Duke, as it routed Campbell 16-2 in a lopsided Monday evening matchup at Koskinen Stadium. 

After jumping out to an 8-1 lead in the first quarter, the defense held Campbell scoreless in the second and third — the team’s fewest goals allowed all season —and earned its third win in a week after beating East Carolina last Tuesday and No. 8 Virginia Saturday

“We’re coming off a huge win on Saturday, and Notre Dame is looming at the end of the week so this is the ultimate trap game,” said head coach Kirsten Kimel. “The older girls on the team did a really good job of making sure everyone was focused and ready to go.”

Remaining focused was key this week after a nail-biter against the Pirates. Duke (9-5, 3-3 in the ACC) started off hot in a similar fashion last week when it led 7-1 after the first quarter, but the Pirates were resilient and fought their way back into the game before ultimately falling 14-12. Determined not to let Campbell (3-9) battle back, Duke kept up the pressure all four quarters and closed the game out efficiently. 

The Blue Devils struck first just 23 seconds into the game courtesy of graduate midfielder Olivia Carner and their veterans dominated for the next 60 minutes. Duke’s first 12 goals were scored by a graduate student or senior, led by Katie Keller with four and Caroline DeBellis with three, plus one assist. Duke played lights-out on the defensive end, clamping Campbell’s attack and forcing timely turnovers in transition. Four Duke goalies tallied at least one save on the day. 

“We can’t take our foot of the gas going into games like this … we learned from [ECU], knowing that we couldn’t rest on our laurels,” said graduate defender Kay Conway. 

Conway played a key role in a facet of Duke’s game that shined Monday night — its man-down defense. Campbell converted only one of five man-up opportunities, the sole being a free-position shot immediately following the foul. On one such opportunity, senior midfielder Maddie McCorkle caused a turnover in the eight and Conway swiftly gathered the ground ball and cleared it to the other end for Duke. Senior attacker Katie DeSimone spun her way through several defenders in front of the crease and slotted it past Campbell’s goalie a mere 17 seconds after McCorkle’s initial turnover in a great display of quick defense to offense. 

“Our man-down unit right now is fantastic,” Kimel said. “We did a great job of really limiting their looks and either creating saves or turning them over.”

The Blue Devils stuck to Campbell like glue in transition and caused four failed clears, resulting in a 16-for-20 rate overall for the Camels. With under a minute left in the first quarter, pressure from Duke’s attack on goalie Alana Lepore forced an errant pass out of bounds and gave the Blue Devils the ball back right in their attacking zone. Junior attacker Carly Bernstein found DeBellis on the doorstep and the veteran faked high and bounced it low past Lepore for her 100th career goal. 

Duke put on another defense-to-offense masterclass halfway through the first quarter when defender Sydney Smith caused a turnover right in front of goalie Kennedy Everson who scooped the ground ball and quickly found Lexi Schmalz in the midfield. The graduate midfielder barreled down field straight to the cage and gave several Campbell defenders a lesson on Newton’s first law of motion when they stepped up to stop her and hit the deck in the collision. Schmalz was awarded the foul and converted the free-position chance with a crafty underhand flip just 19 seconds after Smith’s defensive effort. Overall, 10 different Blue Devils got on the score sheet. 

“We’re getting to that point where we knew we could be based on all the hard work we’ve done this year, and we’re really excited for another great ACC opponent,” Conway said. 

Duke’s defense will seek another strong showing this Saturday as it travels to South Bend, Ind., to take on No. 6 Notre Dame in the first of its three remaining ACC matchups. 


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