WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Duke used a strong offensive first half and a stellar defensive second half to pull out a 10-8 victory over No. 6 seed Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at the Hoyas’ Multi-Sport Field. In the nine years that the NCAA Tournament has included 16 teams, the Blue Devils have now made seven trips to the quarterfinals.
After going down 2-0 in the first 2:20, Duke rattled off four straight goals and eight of the next 10 to take an 8-4 lead. The Blue Devils went into the locker room with an 8-5 lead.
The second half would be much more defensive with a nearly 14-minute scoring drought in the middle of the period in which Duke had a 9-6 lead. Georgetown pulled within two with 1:48 remaining, but junior goalkeeper Kim Imbesi made four saves in the final 1:32 to deny the Hoyas a chance at a comeback.
‘I think Kim’s playing her best lacrosse right now,” said heacd coach Kerstin Kimel. “Her toughness and fortitude in the last few minutes really helped us to preserve the win. She made fantastic decisions in goal and really handled the ball well under pressure.”
Junior attacker Carolyn Davis once again paved the way for Duke, notching four first-half goals, including the Blue Devils’ first score, on just four shots. Davis now ranks fourth in Duke history with 55 season goals and seventh with 128 career goals. Sophomore midfielder Lindsay Gilbride found the back of the net twice in the first period and sophomore midfielder Danielle Kachulis chipped in with two goals in the second stanza.
The Blue Devil defense put forth a strong effort, especially in the second half. Duke caused five turnovers in the second half and eight overall to disrupt the Hoyas’ flow. Senior Aiyana Newton, sophomore Sara Giedgowd and sophomore Betsey Sauer held Georgetown’s second- and third-leading scorers to a combined one assist in the game. Imbesi had a strong outing in the cage, making nine saves in the contest.
Duke is 12-7 this season and hold a 5-7 record over ranked teams and a 3-5 mark over top-10 competition. The Blue Devils are 5-4 this year on the road. Georgetown finishes the season at 12-7.
The Hoyas were led by senior midfielder Patty Piotrowicz with four goals and sophomore attacker Ashby Kaestner with two scores.
Duke is now 10-6 all-time against Georgetown and has won five in a row in the series. The Blue Devils are now 11-10 in the NCAA tournament and earned their first road or neutral site victory in the program’s history. This is Duke’s 11th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, which is tied for the third-longest run in Division I.
“I think our mindset coming into the tournament was that we didn’t care who we had to play or where we had to go,” said Kimel. “We were really just thrilled to be in the tournament. Our kids enjoy each other so much that travelling is not an obstacle. We cherish that time that we get to spend each trip and really consider the road our friend.”
Duke will play No. 3 seed Maryland on Saturday, May 17 in the NCAA quarterfinals. The game will be played at 1:00 p.m., in College Park, Md. If the Blue Devils are able to advance, the NCAA Tournament concludes with the semifinals on May 23 and final on May 25 at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md.