Blue Devils WLAX starts season with 17-8 win at Elon

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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ELON, N.C. – The eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils got scoring from nine different players and put up a solid defensive front to top Elon, 17-8, in their season opener at Rhodes Stadium on Saturday.

Seniors Katie Trees and Taylor Trimble each posted a hat trick, with Trimble also adding three assists to match her career-high in points.

Kerrin Maurer, Maddy Acton, Hayley Shaffer and Kyra Harney all chipped in multiple goals as part of a balanced offensive attack.

The Blue Devils registered nine assists, led by senior Brigid Smith’s four helpers, while outshooting the Phoenix 37-16 and winning the ground ball game by a 15-13 margin.

Maurer and Trees controlled the draw for much of the game, leading Duke by an 18-9 margin, while defensively Duke forced the Phoenix into 16 turnovers.

Goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea made three saves in playing the duration of the game.

“Over half of our goals were assisted – I think that’s awesome,” head coach Kerstin Kimel said.

“Our defense did really well for most of the game. We made it very difficult for them to do anything that they wanted. I thought we came up with a lot of those second-chance balls, and to clear the ball 100 percent in the first game of the season is pretty great.”

Duke started the game on a three-goal run, with senior Trees leading the way.

Elon’s Molly Garrigan put the home squad on the board midway through the period, successfully converting on a man-up opportunity.

The Blue Devils dominated off the draw, and caused a couple of turnovers on the defensive end to fuel another scoring burst.

Maurer scored twice while Erin Tenneson and Trimble added one each to put Duke up 7-1.

Shaffer, Acton and Trimble eventually all found the net inside the final four minutes of the half to extend the Duke lead to 12-2 by halftime.

Thoug Elon posted a pair of goals in the second period, the Phoenix continued to have difficulty slowing down the Duke attack.

Duke led 15-6 with 6:39 to play.

Harney came on to collect the first two goals of her collegiate career late in the contest, while Elon added two more with under five minutes to play to finalize Duke’s final 17-8 win.

“Elon typically does a pretty good job on the draw, and I thought we dominated for the most part,” Kimel said.

“I felt like we came out a little slow in the second half, and that was a point of emphasis for us, so to not do that was kind of disappointing. But it’s early in the season. We were happy that we played a lot of kids, and we’re looking forward to a FridaySunday series next weekend.”

Duke now prepares for an upcoming two-game home stand at Koskinen Stadium, hosting Richmond on Friday and then facing off against Navy on Sunday.