DURHAM, N.C. – Fourth-ranked Duke opened with a 9-1 run and never looked back, cruising to a 20-12 victory against Richmond Friday night. The Blue Devils move to 2-0 on the season, while the Spiders fall to 0-2 early in the year.
For much of the night, Duke dominated the game and was able to control the tempo thanks to a commanding 24-10 margin in draw controls. The Blue Devils also led in overall shots (42-22) and held a 28-8 advantage in shots at the end of the first half.
“Winning the draw was a huge key because we were able to control the momentum and to generate a lot of good looks,” head coach Kerstin Kimel said. “I’m very happy we were able to score 20 goals, but more than anything I was really happy we were able to dominate the draw control. We didn’t win draws last Saturday against Ohio State, and that was a big focus for us all week.”
Duke’s potent offensive unit, which has opened the season with back-to-back 20-plus goal games for the first time in program history, saw nine players notch goals for the game. Senior Sarah Bullard had a team-best four goals and classmate Christie Kaestner led all players with seven points on three goals and four assists. Junior Kat Thomas, who added eight draw controls on the night as well, registered three goals, while sophomore Makenzie Hommel, redshirt junior Emma Hamm and sophomore Alyssa Ogle tallied two goals each.
The Blue Devils built their lead early with goals by Hamm and Bullard to start off the night. After a Richmond tally at the 25:49 mark, Duke rattled off seven unanswered scores before the Spiders cut into the deficit with three goals right before halftime.
Already leading 9-4 at the intermission, a 10-2 Duke run over the first 15 minutes of the second frame put the game out of reach. However, Richmond was able to close the gap over the final 10 minutes of play, scoring six of the game’s final seven goals.
“I would like to have an overall better team defensive effort in the second half,” Kimel added, “but I’m very happy with our offensive production. I would like us to be fresh and ready to go for William & Mary. They’ve had all week to get ready for us and we have a day to turn around, recover and prepare. It’ll be a good test for us and we’re looking forward to our game on Sunday.”