CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Senior Makenzie Hommel and freshman Kelci Smesko netted three goals apiece but the seventh-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team was unable to slow No. 19 Virginia, suffering a 10-7 loss to the Cavaliers Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at North Carolina's Fetzer Field.
The Blue Devils, seeded fourth in the tournament, dropped to 11-5 (2-3 ACC) with the loss, while fifth-seeded Virginia improved to 9-8 (1-4 ACC) and advanced to the semifinal round where it will face top-ranked and top-seeded Maryland Friday, Apr. 26.
“I’d like to congratulate Virginia – I thought they played a great game,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “I just thought, front-to-back, their offense had really good possessions, their defense was super aggressive. The way they played really had a major impact on us.”
Hommel posted her ninth hat trick of the season and added an assist to finish with four points while Smesko also turned in a three-goal performance. Sophomore Taylor Trimble added a goal and sophomore Kerrin Maurer and junior Maddy Morrissey each contributed assists. Liza Blue led the way for the Cavaliers with four goals and Casey Bocklet tallied four points on three goals and an assist.
Following a couple of early turnovers by both squads, Virginia jumped out to a 2-0 advantage on scores by Blue and Bocklet. Hommel quickly closed the gap, netting a pair of goals on a free position opportunity and an assist from Morrissey. However, the Cavaliers capitalized at the draw over the next nine minutes, adding three more tallies for a 6-2 lead with 11:33 remaining in the half.
Maurer broke through with a draw control win on the ensuing play, and found Trimble for a score to pull Duke within three. Turnovers continued to haunt the Blue Devils, though, keeping the deficit at 6-3 heading into the intermission.
Hommel paced the Duke offense to a fast start in the second half, assisting Smesko 13 seconds into the period and wrapping around the post for another score less than a minute later. A couple of goals by Virginia’s Courtney Swan and Caroline McTiernan kept the Cavaliers ahead by three at 8-5 with 26:21 to play.
After an eight-minute scoring drought by both teams, Smesko registered her second goal of the afternoon to cut Virginia’s lead to two. The Blue Devils were unable to slow Virginia’s attack over the next few possessions, however, as the Cavaliers stretched their advantage to 10-6 with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Smesko netted her third goal with 4:40 left on the clock, but Virginia held on to win by a 10-7 score.
For the game, both teams recorded 22 shots and committed 14 turnovers. The Cavaliers won the draw controls category, 13-6, and held an 18-15 edge in ground balls. Duke finished the day 15-of-19 on clear attempts.
“We really pride ourselves on taking care of the ball,” Kimel said. “I felt the amount of unforced turnovers and mistakes today for us were really uncharacteristic, so that’s disappointing … It sets a tough tone for your team. It’s tough to have confidence, it’s tough to play your style.”
Junior defender Tara Stokes had career-highs in ground balls (4) and caused turnovers (2) and senior Lauren Martin also finished with two caused turnovers. Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea totaled six saves in the loss while her counterpart, Kim Kolarik, also had six stops for Virginia.
The Blue Devils return to action Sunday, May 5 at 12 p.m. when they host Boston University in their regular season finale at Koskinen Stadium. Duke will honor the program’s seniors at that contest, which will be broadcast on Blue Devil Network.