DURHAM, N.C. – A second-half scoreless streak doomed the ECU lacrosse team to a 16-6 loss at Duke on Tuesday afternoon.
ECU falls to 5-3 on the season while No. 18 Duke improves to 6-3 on the year.
For the second straight game, an opponent’s control of the draw circle helped put ECU in an early hole. Neither team could score for nearly eight minutes before Duke rattled off two straight goals to take a 2-0 lead. The Pirates got their first goal of the game when MacKell Schultes scored a goal at the 20:41 mark of the first half.
However, after Schultes’ goal, Duke grabbed a stranglehold on the game. The Blue Devils rattled off five goals in less than five minutes to take a 7-1 lead at the halfway point of the opening 30 minutes.
ECU fought back though. France Kimel ended the Duke run when she scored off a pass from Schultes. The Pirates added back-to-back goals from Camryn Pennypacker and Megan Tryniski, both of which came on free-position shots. That made it 7-4 before Duke got the last goal of the opening half to make it 8-4 at the break.
At the start of the second half, the two teams traded goals early on. Katie Cronin scored to complete a hat trick for the Blue Devils before Schultes answered with her second goal of the game.
After Schultes’ goal, the ECU offense sputtered out while the ranked Blue Devils began to pull away. Duke scored seven straight goals to take an insurmountable 16-5 lead with 1:26 to go.
ECU got one final goal as time expired, as Nicole LeGar scored off a feed from Schultes, leaving the final score as 16-6.
Duke finished with a slight 30-29 edge in shots, but had a large advantage in ground balls (26-15) and draw controls (15-7). The Pirates did have the edge in turnovers, forcing 22 Blue Devil giveaways versus 17 for ECU. ECU shot 3-of-8 on free-position shots while Duke was 3-of-5.
Schultes set a new career-high with four points on two goals and two assists. Pennypacker, Kimel, LeGar and Tryniski were the only other Pirates with points. Kimel led the team with three draw controls while Schultes and Jordyn Cox each forced two turnovers. Ashley Vernon made four stops in the cage for the Pirates.
ECU will be back home next Tuesday when the Pirates host Niagara in Johnson Stadium.