PHILADELPHIA, Pa. --- The Duke women's lacrosse team ended its season in the worst way Friday in the NCAA Final Four, giving up 10 unanswered goals in the last 20 minutes and watching sophomore midfielder Carolyn Davis carted off the field late in the game. Duke led 13-4 with 20:46 remaining before Virginia begain the biggest comeback in NCAA Division I women's lacrosse championship history.
Duke drew first blood only 25 seconds into the game when senior attacker Kristen Waagbo deposited her 44th goal of the season into the net. Virginia quickly countered when senior midfielder Jess Wasilewski scored 6:36 into the contest.
The Blue Devils then scored seven of the next eight goals to take a 8-2 lead with 7:54 remaining. In that run, junior attacker Caroline Cryer scored three goals and one assist and Waagbo notched her second and third score of the game and dished out two assists.
Virginia’s senior attacker Kate Breslin stopped the bleeding when she scored with 7:30 left in the first half. That would be the final goal of the first session, as Duke took an 8-3 lead into the locker room.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kim Imbesi was clutch for Duke throughout the first half, coming up with 10 saves while only allowing three goals. She finished with 16 saves and only allowed 14 goals.
The second half started out on a good note for the Cavs when sophomore midfielder Blair Weymouth scored 1:39 into the half.
That would be all Virginia would get for awhile as Duke again went on a run, this time with four consecutive tallies, including two by senior midfielder Rachel Sanford and the second of the night from senior midfielder Michelle Menser. Senior attacker Leigh Jester put forth her second and third assists of the game in that stretch.
Jester’s third assist went to Cryer for her fourth goal of the game, which also broke the Duke record for most goals in a season. Duke then led 13-4 with 20:46 on the clock. Cryer broke the mark set by former Blue Devil standout Katie Chrest of 70 in 2005.
Starting with 17:09 remaining in the game, the Cavaliers began a run that would tie the game 13-13, scoring five goals in three minutes and nine in just over 12 minutes overall. One goal into that flurry of scoring, Davis went down with an injury and was unable to return to the game. Virginia seemed to snap to life, and Duke was unable to stop their run.
Wasilewski netted the game-winner with nine seconds left on the clock after two Duke turnovers in the last two minutes of the game. For the third year in a row, Duke lost in the national semifinal contest.
Duke ends the season at 16-4, while Virginia improved their record to 19-3.
The 2007 NCAA women’s lacrosse championship game will be played on Sun., May 27, at 7 p.m., on CSTV between Virginia and No. 1 seed Northwestern.
** Duke is now 10-10 all-time and 0-7 on the road or at neutral sites in NCAA Tournament play.
** Duke’s 16 wins this season were the third-most in school history, trailing only the 18 victories earned by the 2006 squad and the 17 wins by the 2005 team.
** The Blue Devils finish at 10-4 this season against ranked opponents.
** Duke is 51-11 over the past three seasons and 77-22 over the past five.
** Duke is 0-4 in national semifinal games, with three of those losses coming at the hands of Virginia.
** Waagbo finishes her career second on the all-time ACC assists list with 116 ... In four NCAA tournaments and 10 games, Waagbo scored 22 goals and 16 assists.
** Jester finishes her NCAA tournament career with 24 goals and nine assists in 10 games.
** The Blue Devils fall to 6-15 all-time against the Cavaliers.