DALLAS, Texas --- No. 3 Duke used a late first half surge to power past Stanford, 16-9, on Sunday at Westcott Field on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Down 5-4 late in the first period, the Blue Devils scored six unanswered goals spanning halftime to take a lead they would not relinquish. The game marked the first-ever Division I women’s lacrosse game in the state of the Texas.
The two biggest factors in the game were juniors Carolyn Davis and Megan Del Monte. Davis led all scorers in points with six on three goals and three assists. In the first two games of the season the midfielder has already amassed eight goals and four assists to lead the team in both categories. Del Monte added her first three goals of the season for good measure, and had two assists for which brings her season total to four.
Davis has been fully cleared to play for less than two weeks after suffering a torn ACL in the final game of the 2007 season.
“Overall it’s been a good transition,” said Davis. “It feels good to be back out on the field with my teammates and I think that we’re off to a good start.”
Much like their first game of the season on Friday night with Denver, the Blue Devils trailed early. This time it was deficits of 3-1 and 4-2 that would put a scare into Duke early in the first stanza.
Instead of a group of freshmen keeping the Devils in the game as was the case on Friday, this time Davis and Del Monte scored three goals combined early on to keep it close.
That paved the way for the barrage of support that the underclassmen would provide late in the first half and throughout the second. Playing a key role was sophomore midfielder Lindsay Gilbride, who tallied two goals and two assists.
After Stanford scored to end the Duke’s six-goal run and cut the lead down to 10-6, the Blue Devils scored four of the next five goals to take a comfortable 14-7 lead. The two squads traded the last four goals in the last six minutes.
Freshman midfielders Sarah Bullard and Emma Hamm and freshmen attackers Christie Kaestner and Morgan Miller were also clutch, combining for seven goals and two assists. Bullard and Hamm had two goals and an assist each and Kaestner dropped in two scores of her own.
“The freshmen have really stepped up in the first few games of the season,” said Davis. “They have a great presence and are definitely going to help take us far this year.”
The Blue Devil defense was strong in front of junior goalkeeper Kim Imbesi, who had six saves on the day. The defense caused 18 turnovers by the Cardinal and only allowed two players more than one goal. Junior midfielder Jess Adam led in that category, causing three turnovers.
Duke was successful on the draw, holding a 16-11 advantage. Senior midfielder Allie Johnson was first on the team in draws for the second straight game with four, and Adam and Hamm each added three.
The Cardinal was led by senior attacker Daphne Patterson with four goals and freshman midfielder Karen Nesbitt with two goals and one assist.
The win pushed the Blue Devils to 2-0 for the seventh consecutive season and ninth time in the program’s 13 years.
Duke improved to 6-0 all-time against Stanford, with five of those six victories coming in the last six seasons.
The Blue Devils will take a road trip to Virginia next weekend to take on No. 20 Richmond on Friday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m., and then check in to Williamsburg, Va., for a Sunday tilt with William & Mary at 1 p.m.