No. 8 Duke scores lone OT goal in 7-6 2OT win over No. 3 UNC
The Duke women’s lacrosse team probably would like North Carolina to play a few more games in Kenan Stadium.
Kerrin Mauer scored with 26.5 seconds remaining in the second overtime as the No. 8 Blue Devils knocked off their archrival 7-6 on Wednesday night in the Tar Heels’ first game in Kenan.
“We wanted it, we wanted it bad,” said Maurer, who scored three goals. “The coaches gave us a great game plan, and we executed it well. (Coach) Kerstin (Kimel) told us before the game that it was going to be the one who had the most heart, and we had (it). It feels great.”
No. 3 UNC moved the game to Kenan because Fetzer Field was being used for the ACC track meet. That only enhanced an already fierce rivalry.
“This game … is typically a lot like this,” Kimel said. “It’s a one- or two-goal game, and a lot of times it’s overtime. The team on paper that’s supposed to win doesn’t always win. All that goes out the window when it’s Duke-Carolina, and that’s what makes it special.
“Our girls understand that it’s a privilege to be part of such an awesome rivalry. Because of all the special things that come along with it, you can get great finishes like this.”
UNC, understandably, didn’t think it was such a great finish, especially after losing a 6-4 second-half lead.
“Bummer,” Tar Heel attacker Abbey Friend said. “Always unfortunate to lose to Duke. The atmosphere was great, and all the fans were awesome. Just an unfortunate ending, but it’s always better to be a Tar Heel than a Dookie.”
For most of the game, a good finish didn’t seem possible. Duke (9-6, 3-4 ACC) played a deliberate game to try to slow down the Heels’ high-powered offense. Merrin’s second goal with 10:17 to play in the first half gave the Devils a 4-1 lead as UNC struggled to adjust.
“They were really holding possession, which always gets us a little bit anxious, just because we really like to play lacrosse and get the ball and go,” Friend said. “When they slowed the tempo down, it’s a little more boring. We like to play a little more fun that that.”
Friend and her teammates had some fun the rest of the half, as she scored twice and Taylor George once to tie the game going into halftime. The Heels (12-2, 5-1) kept firing in the second half, with Molly Hendrick scoring on a free possession with 23:23 remaining for a 6-4 lead.
But the Blue Devils didn’t go away, as Sydney Peterson scored back-to-back goals to tie the game, making it 6-6 with 4:12 remaining after a nifty pass from Maurer.
“We just stayed confident, knowing we had taken it to them in the first half,” Peterson said. “When it go to be 6-4, we just looked at each other and took confidence in each other and came out ahead.”
The Tar Heels have now lost three of their last four games — all against top-10 opponents — with the regular-season finale slated for Saturday against Towson, also in Kenan.
“Our kids are bummed,” Tar Heel coach Jenny Levy said. “But we have a choice. Are we going to work? Or are we going to point fingers and quit. This group has worked hard all year; they’re tough, they’re fighters. They’ll respond. I’m not worried about it at all.”