DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke women’s lacrosse team, seeded fifth in the upcoming tournament, is ready to take on Penn in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. from Koskinen Stadium.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens. Gates will open at 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at GoDuke.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-877-375-3853. In addition, head coach Kerstin Kimel has purchased tickets for all current Duke students to attend this game for free. Students can pick up their tickets by presenting a Duke ID on game day at the main Whitford Drive entrance to Koskinen. Due to graduations on Sunday, parking will be limited and is available on a first-come first-serve basis in the Bassett Drive/Grounds Lot. Parking in Whitford Drive will be by list only.
The Blue Devils and the Quakers are set to meet for the second time in 16 days as the two teams squared off on April 29 in Philadelphia with Penn earning the 13-10 victory. Sunday’s contest will be the sixth all-time meeting between the two teams as Penn holds a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series after winning the past three bouts with the Blue Devils. 2011 also marks the third time in the past four seasons the Blue Devils and the Quakers will meet in the NCAA Tournament as Penn knocked Duke from championship contention in both 2008 and 2009.
Duke, ranked fifth in the latest IWLCA poll, enters the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a 13-4 overall record, but has stumbled in its past two outings. The Blue Devils fell in the ACC Tournament semifinals to North Carolina before dropping their regular season finale, 13-10, at Penn on April 29 to close out the regular season. Ninth-ranked Penn finished the regular season with an 11-5 ledger and earned a share of its fifth consecutive Ivy League regular season title. The Quakers are coming off a 10-8, overtime loss in the Ivy League Tournament championship game against Princeton.
Heading into the tournament, the Blue Devils boast a balanced attack, which ranks second in the conference and seventh in the nation in scoring offense (14.41 gpg). Tops on the team in points is All-ACC selection and Tewaaraton Trophy nominee Christie Kaestner (30a, 40a), who also leads the team and the ACC in assists per game (2.29 apg). Following close behind with 67 points is Emma Hamm, also an All-ACC honoree and Tewaaraton candidate, who leads the team in goals (45) and draw controls (60). Additionally, Duke’s midfield contains another pair of All-ACC picks in Kat Thomas (38g, 52 dc) and Kim Wenger (15g, 17a).
Duke’s young defensive unit has developed as the season progressed and currently leads the ACC in caused turnovers per game (9.53 ctpg) and draw controls per game (14.76 dcpg). Goaltender Mollie Mackler has started every game this season and leads the ACC with an average of eight saves per game.
The Blue Devils are 14-13 all-time in NCAA Championship play, having advanced to five national semifinals in program history. This season marks Duke’s 14th consecutive trip to the tournament as the Blue Devils are one of six teams with consecutive NCAA appearance streaks of five or more years.
The Quakers are 9-6 all-time in NCAA Tournament action and have advanced to the final weekend of the tournament in three out of the last four seasons. This year, the Penn offense is led by junior attacker Erin Brennan, who has totaled 32 goals and 16 assists in 2011, while the Quakers’ defense has posted an 8.15 goals against average.
The winner of Sunday’s contest will move on to the NCAA quarterfinals to face the winner of a Saturday match-up between No. 4 Florida and No. 7 Stanford.
The winners of the four quarterfinal games will advance to the semifinals and final hosted by Stony Brook University May 27 and 29 at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook, N.Y. The semifinal games will be streamed live in HD on www.NCAA.com at 5 and 7:30 p.m. (ET), Friday, May 27. The championship game will be streamed at 4 p.m., Sunday, May 29. Tickets for the semifinals and final can be purchased online at http://www.goseawolves.org/tickets/ston-10-ncaalax-tix.html.