JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sixth-ranked Notre Dame opened its season in fine fashion with a 12-7 win against No. 5 Duke on Sunday afternoon in front of 8,152 fans at Everbank Field as part of the inaugural Sunshine Classic.

Fighting Irish senior midfielder Zach Brenneman registered a career-high five points on three goals and two assists. Andrew Irving, Sean Rogers and Westy Hopkins all added two goals apiece for the Irish. Notre Dame goalie John Kemp, a sophomore, made 10 saves in his third career start. 

Following a scoreless first quarter from both teams, Duke claimed a 2-0 advantage by the 7:34 mark of the second quarter. The Fighting Irish responded with four unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead into halftime. 

Notre Dame cracked the scoreboard with 5:53 left in the first half as Rogers came from behind the net to deposit the Irish goal. The junior attackman evened the contest 20 seconds later.

Irving gave the Irish a 3-2 advantage with 5:17 showing on the clock in the second quarter. Junior midfielder Max Pfeifer put the Irish up by two (4-2) with just under four minutes left in the first half.

The Irish outshot the Blue Devils 18-13 in the opening half. 

Duke put a halt to the Irish run with a Zach Howell goal at the 10:32 mark of the third quarter. Notre Dame responded with a man-up goal from senior midfielder David Earl, which made it a 5-3 contest with 8:24 left in the third period. Sophomore midfielder Pat Cotter assisted on the score. Cotter deposited a goal of his own less than two minutes later to put the Irish up by three (6-3). 

Turri got the Blue Devils back to within two (6-4) with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. Brenneman pushed the Irish lead back to three (7-4) with 2:41 remaining in the third stanza. Notre Dame led 7-4 after three quarters of play. 

The back-and-forth affair continued as Howell scored just over three minutes into the fourth quarter to make it a two-goal contest (7-5). Notre Dame would score the game’s next four goals. 

Brenneman responded 34 seconds after the Howell tally to put Notre Dame up by three (8-5). Hopkins gave Notre Dame a four-goal lead (9-5) with 11:04 left in regulation as he took a pass from Brenneman and deposited the first goal of his career. 

Brenneman completed his hat trick at the 10:06 mark of the final quarter. Hopkins scored again with 7:13 left in the contest. 

Turri got the Blue Devils back to within five (11-6) at the 6:14 mark of the fourth period. Duke’s Robert Rotanz made it 11-7 with 1:35 remaining. Irving scored the final goal of the contest. 

The Notre Dame defense stymied a Duke offense that posted 20 goals in its season opener against Siena. The Irish held a 38-32 lead in shots. Notre Dame also was 13 of 22 in faceoff attempts. Freshman Liam O’Connor was 7-for-10 in the faceoff circle, while senior Jake Marmul was 6-for-11. 

The game’s first goal came with 9:40 left in the second quarter as Duke’s Tom Rynn scored a man-up tally with the assist from Justin Turri. The Blue Devils took a 2-0 lead just over two minutes later on a Justin Offit goal. 

Notre Dame has won a program-record nine consecutive season openers. The Irish defeated Duke 11-7 in last season’s lid-lifter although Sunday marked the first time Notre Dame had ever defeated a defending national champion as the Irish previously were 0-3 versus defending national champs.