Smesko's Three Goals Lead No. 6 Duke Past Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Matched up against their third top 10 opponent of the season, Jacksonville put forth another strong effort but came up short in a 10-7 loss to No. 6 Duke on Wednesday afternoon at D.B. Milne Field.

JU (4-2) was led by junior Brit Orashen (Lebanon, N.J.) with two goals and an assist as the Dolphins out shot Duke (7-1) 24-21 on the day.

"The work ethic and effort of our team today was outstanding," said JU Head Coach Mindy McCord. "They worked very hard and I wish we would have been able to convert a few more shots, but they just weren't hitting for us today."

The JU effort was predominate in the first half when Duke worked up a 4-1 advantage. Despite the three-goal deficit, the Dolphins didn't back down and continued their defensive pressure forcing three unsuccessful clears in the first half by the Blue Devils.

The disruption on defense caused by JU held spark the aggressiveness on the offensive end. Junior Ali Hoffman (Gambrills, Md.) cut into the lead when she drew a foul and converted on a free position goal at the 3:25 mark. Orashen, who also had three draw controls and three ground balls did the same with 42 seconds left as the Dolphins went into the break down 4-3.

The Blue Devils once again opened up a three goal advantage in the first seven minutes after halftime, but the Dolphins responded once more. Senior Amanda Hurley (Columbus, Ga.) fired home her team leading 18th score of the year on a free position. Orashen followed 10 minutes later with an unassisted score midway through the period the pulled JU back to with one.

The teams each traded goals in the next five minutes before Duke scored twice in a 10 second span to one again build a three-goal margin.

Sophomore Holly Ventimiglia (Medford, N.Y.) added her eight goal of the year with six minutes remaining to keep the Dolphins in contention. Duke would then go into a stall the final three minutes, but JU had one final chance by forcing a loose ball only to have the Blue Devils control the possession.

"Give Duke credit, they are a very sound team," said McCord. "I was really proud of our team on the stall at the end of the game. That is one of the most incredibly difficult things to do and we forced a loose ball, but just couldn't gain possession."

JU had eight turnovers to 11 for Duke. The Dolphins also had a 17-12 edge in ground balls.

"Statistically speaking we had a winning edge, but we just have to put a few more in the net," McCord said.

JU returns to action next Tuesday at 12:00 pm when Marist pays a visit to D.B. Milne Field.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Freshman Kelci Smesko collected the first hat trick of her career to lift No. 6 Duke to a 10-7 victory over Jacksonville in the first meeting between the two programs Wednesday at the Dolphins' D.B. Milne Field. The Blue Devils improved to 7-1 on the spring with the non-conference win, while Jacksonville fell to 5-3.

Duke (7-1, 1-1 ACC) took a one-goal advantage into halftime and outscored the Dolphins 6-4 in the second period to earn its third consecutive win and second on the road. A strong second-half showing at the draw helped the Blue Devils win the category by an 11-8 margin while Jacksonville held the edge in shots (24-21) and in ground balls (17-12).

"We came in prepared knowing that we were going to face a very veteran team that has seen a lot of success," said head coach Kerstin Kimel. "I always think for a young team to be in a tough, neck-and-neck game and hold on and win is great that's a huge accomplishment for us."

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