DURHAM, N.C. – A second half surge for the Virginia Tech lacrosse team just wasn’t enough as the squad fell to the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils 17-9 at Koskinen Stadium on the Duke campus Friday evening. Brooke Martin led the Hokie attack with three goals, while Kerrin Maurer and Makenzie Hommel each put away three goals or Duke.
The Hokies (0-1, 0-1 ACC) were able to dominate the draw early, winning the first four of the game, and Martin earned herself a free position shot on one of the first possessions, but was denied. Duke (1-0, 1-0 ACC) was the first to strike when Taylor Trimble put away a quick pass from behind the cage courtesy of Hommel.
It didn’t take long for Tech to answer, as Will tied the game at one apiece five minutes into the game. Freshman Jessi Thon picked the ball up just past the restraining line and worked it back towards the middle, finding Will on the far right side. Will worked her way up close and through the attacking defense to find the back of the goal.
Senior Julia Heaps ended a 10-minute scoring drought for the Hokies, also breaking up a five goal run for Duke, when she put away a free position shot after being fouled.
The Blue Devils tacked on four more goals before the halftime break, but Martin was also able to add to Tech’s total when she came from behind the cage looking to pass but was able to thread the needle and flick in the up-close shot.
Leading 10-3 at the half, Duke outshot the Hokies 19-7 in the first half, while each team won seven draws.
The Hokies came out of the locker room ready to battle. They dominated possession in the opening minutes of the new half, getting much help from the defensive unit, which was able to really disrupt Duke’s momentum. Martin got things going right away for the Hokies when she put away a pass from sophomore Jack Boissonneault less than a minute in.
Sophomore Meg Bartley helped Tech cut into the Blue Devil lead when she snuck in a free position shot, and Will was able to Boissonneault less than a minute after that, assisting the Boissonneault goal to make it 10-6, Duke.
The Tech defense did not allow a Duke goal until midway through the second half, when Maddie Salamone ended the Blue Devil scoring drought after connecting with Kelci Smesko.
Martin struck for a third time and ended a nearly 15 minute-scoring drought for the Hokies when classmate Charlotte Marsh brought the ball up field and found a breaking Martin wide open near the goal. Martin turned and fired to make it a 12-7 game.
The Hokies again tried to get something going with under eight minutes to play as Julia Heaps put away a free position attempt and Will put away her second goal of the game less than a minute later.
Despite the outcome, Alex Gale and the Tech defense made a big impact in the game. Gale finished the game with 12 saves, while the defense assisted in forcing 11 Duke turnovers.
In goal for the Blue Devils was Kaitlin Gaiss, who finished the game with seven saves.
The Hokies return to action in exactly one week when they head to High Point, N.C., to take on the Panthers on Fri. Feb. 15, at 4:00 pm.
For updates on Virginia Tech lacrosse, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Lax).