DURHAM, N.C. – After opening the 2014 campaign with a pair of convincing wins, the Duke women’s lacrosse program was tabbed No. 5 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division I rankings, released Monday, Feb. 10. The Blue Devils moved up one spot from their preseason ranking of No. 6 a week ago.
The No. 5 ranking marks the highest for the program since the week of March 13, 2012, when Duke was listed fourth in the nation.
Head coach Kerstin Kimel’s squad kicked off the season Friday, Feb. 7 with a 25-4 victory over in-state opponent Elon. Fourteen different Blue Devils scored in the win, with the 25 goals matching the program’s single-game goals record. Junior Kerrin Maurer had a career-best six-goal performance, tying her for third on Duke’s all-time single-game chart. Defensively, senior Taylor Virden picked up a game-high four ground balls and also won three draw controls, as did classmate Sydney Peterson.
On Sunday, Maurer once again led the Blue Devils to a strong showing, totaling five goals and three assists to help the team erase an early 4-0 lead by Louisville. With the score knotted at 10-10 early in the second half, the Duke offense netted four scores in the final 15 minutes of the contest and held up strong on the defensive end to pull away from the Cardinals for a 14-11 victory. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea posted 11 saves against 27 shots while Virden collected five more wins at the draw.
Through the first two games of the season, Duke is outshooting its opponents by a 64-40 margin and has compiled a 19.50 goals scored average. The defensive unit has held opposing teams to a goals scored average of 7.50.
Maurer has registered 16 points on 11 goals and five assists through the two contests while sophomore Kelci Smesko (4g, 3a) and Peterson (3g, 4a) have tallied seven points apiece. Virden leads the way in ground balls (6), draw controls (6) and caused turnovers (3). In the cage, Duryea owns an early-season goals against average of 7.32 and a save percentage of .536 to go with a 2-0 record.
Up next, the Blue Devils will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Richmond Friday, Feb. 14 for a 5 p.m. matchup and William & Mary Sunday, Feb. 16 for a 1 p.m. contest.