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WLAX: Late run propels Duke past Caavaliers, 16-11

Posted March 22

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A late six-goal scoring run propelled the eighth-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team past No. 14 Virginia, 16-11, Saturday in conference action at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils prevailed in a contest that featured eight ties, six lead changes and 19 second-half goals, improving to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in ACC play.

Junior Kerrin Maurer and senior Sydney Peterson logged three goals and three assists each for a combined 12 points while junior Taylor Trimble and sophomore Kelci Smesko also recorded hat tricks.

“I expected this game to be close,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “Virginia is a great team – they’re solid all over the field and they can score goals. I was really proud of our team because we didn’t have the start that we wanted to, but we kept our composure, kept making plays and kept winning the draw. I thought we did a good job, for the most part of executing on offense.”

Leading 5-3 at the break, Duke saw its advantage evaporate early in the second period as the Cavaliers came out and scored three times within the first five minutes. A tally by Virginia’s Casey Bocklet at the 22:34 mark gave the visiting squad its first lead since the score was 2-1 early in the first half.

After Trimble finished with a behind-the-back goal on a pass from Maurer, the Cavaliers responded with two markers of their own by Christie Donovan and Liza Blue to go up by two at 9-7. Goals by Maddy Morrissey, Brigid Smith and Trimble swung the lead back to the Blue Devils midway through the period, but two more from Virginia made it a one-goal deficit for Duke with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation.

The Blue Devils won four of the final six draw controls in the game to fuel the late six-goal scoring burst. Smesko netted three over that span with Maurer adding two and Peterson one to close out the 16-11 victory.

“The draw was huge,” Kimel said. “We spend so much time working on it. I was really proud of our kids being focused every time we went back to the draw circle, knowing how important each of those possessions were if we came up with the ball.”

Peterson paced the Duke attack in the first half with a pair of tallies, while Maurer, Smith and Trimble had one each. Blue totaled four goals and five draws on the day to lead the Cavaliers, and teammate Courtney Swan also recorded five draws to go along with two assists.

“Virginia is a great opponent and always fights hard,” Maurer said. “When they went on a run, we didn’t get unsettled and flustered. We just kind of knew what we had to do. We executed our game plan and that’s what helped us score the goals that we did.”

Sophomore Kelsey Duryea posted nine saves in the net for the Blue Devils and matched a career-high with five ground balls. Liz Colgan also finished with nine saves for Virginia.

Senior defender Taylor Virden eclipsed the 100-ground ball mark for her career, picking up a ground ball off of a caused turnover early in the first half. The Ellicott City, Md., native also matched a career-best performance with six draw controls, helping Duke win the category by a 16-13 margin.

Duke hits the road next weekend for another ACC matchup, traveling to Syracuse Saturday, March 29 for a 1 p.m. contest. The game is scheduled to be streamed live on Cuse.com.

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