DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke women’s lacrosse team will be making its 16th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship, as announced Sunday evening on NCAA.com. The Blue Devils, currently ranked seventh in the nation, will face Princeton Friday, May 10 at 7:15 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
Duke and Princeton will meet for the second time in the NCAA Tournament, with the Tigers winning the only other matchup by a 9-8 score following three overtime periods in the 2000 NCAA quarterfinals. The overall series between the two schools is tied, 8-8. The Blue Devils won the last meeting, 12-9, in Princeton, N.J. March 3, 2012 and have defeated the Tigers in six of the last seven contests between the two squads.
Coming off of its 12th national quarterfinal appearance in 2012, Duke is 12-5 in 2013 and has been ranked among the top eight teams in the IWLCA Coaches’ Poll the entire spring. The Blue Devils received their first NCAA Tournament bid in 1998 and have made an appearance in the postseason event in each of the following seasons. Under the direction of head coach Kerstin Kimel, the program owns an all-time record of 11-3 in NCAA first round action and has won eight consecutive first round contests. Duke is also 17-15 all-time in NCAA competition with six trips to the national semifinals (1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011).
Senior Makenzie Hommel paces the Duke attack with 44 goals on the season while sophomore Kerrin Maurer has totaled a team-high 59 points on 32 goals and 27 assists and freshman Kelci Smesko has recorded 42 points on 26 goals and 16 assists. The team’s lineup features five players with 20-plus points this spring.
The Blue Devil defense allows opponents just 8.88 goals per game and has limited nine opponents to single-digit scoring this year. Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea anchors the defense, sporting an ACC-best 8.69 goals per game average and a .502 save percentage. Duryea also leads the conference in ground balls per game while junior Taylor Virden has snared a team-high 30 ground balls on the season. Virden ranks among the league leaders in draw controls and continues to pace the team with 48 in 16 games played.
Five Blue Devils earned All-ACC honors this spring, with sophomore Taylor Trimble joining Hommel, Maurer, Duryea and Virden in receiving the accolade. Hommel was also selected to the 2013 ACC All-Tournament team, while Maurer and Virden have been named nominees for the 2013 Tewaaraton Award.
Princeton is 10-6 on the year after falling to Dartmouth, 10-11, in two overtime periods May 3 in the Tigers’ regular season finale. The squad features six players with 25 or more points, led by Erin McMunn with 66 points on 38 goals and 28 assists.
The winner of Friday evening’s contest will advance to face the winner of the Navy/Monmouth matchup in the second round of the tournament Sunday, May 12 at 12 p.m. in Annapolis.