DURHAM, N.C. – The Blue Devils avenged a regular season loss at the hands of the Quakers with a 12-9 victory over Penn Sunday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Check out senior Christie Kaestner’s latest blog for information on graduation and Duke’s opening round win.
So this is officially my first blog as a Duke University alum…WHAT. I can’t believe I just said that and I’m pretty sure any second now I’m going to wake up and still be moving into Giles dorm on East Campus. As Dr. Kennedy said today at our graduation, “the days go slow but the years go fast.” He couldn’t have said it better; it seems so long ago and yet just like yesterday that we were baby freshmen, inviting ourselves over to the seniors’ house and riding the bus to west campus for practice. We had quite the eventful week full of major milestones for many of us!
After receiving our seed to host Penn, we started the week with a bang and had a great practice. Postseason means no class, no distractions, just practice and free time. And let me just say we were ANTSY all week after two weeks without a game. Now, in my career, we have never beaten Penn. My first two years here, they knocked us out of the tournament, both times in overtime. Also, as you know, we lost to them two weeks ago. What is this a recipe for, you might ask? REVENGE. I wish you ALL had seen it -- we were FABULOUS. We had a terrific team effort and everyone played great. The exciting part is, we have room to grow but it was nice to get back on track and play a good game. We came out on top 12-9 to move us into the quarterfinal round in Gainesville to take on the University of Florida.
One of the fabulous parts about postseason obviously revolves around the food. We had two team dinners last week, including a feast at Maggiano’s and dinner at the University Club, the top floor of the tallest building around. So in case you didn’t get the memo, 17 of us got stuck in the elevator on the way down from dinner. Now, let me just come right out and say we were well under the weight limit, so it wasn’t our fault. We were bouncing a bit on the ground floor and couldn’t get the doors to open. It was tight, hot, and some people’s true colors came out. It got a little hairy when we went up to the third floor…at that point I wasn’t feeling great about a potential plummet. Fortunately, with Lauren Martin talking us through it from the outside (she was the worst person ever to send encouragement in there - “wow this is scary I MEAN YOU’LL BE FINE”), the firemen showed up and freed us from our metal cage. There is a hilarious video of our release on our Facebook page -- check it out!
Now for the main event -- graduation weekend! Baccalaureate, parties and gifts oh my! It was a very special weekend for the class of 2011…I can’t swipe into any buildings, the campus doesn’t recognize me anymore. After our big win Sunday we had a party at the Washington Duke to honor the class of 2011 complete with framed pictures, great food and a phenomenal video/slide show put together by Dave Spearman, which obviously had us all in tears. Afterwards, the senior parents and the team went out together…let’s just say it was EASILY a top three night at Duke, probably top night period. I wish I could go into more details but I don’t think I’m allowed…and then, Monday morning we graduated! Since we played on Sunday during our normal graduation time we had a special, much more intimate ceremony in Wilson gym at 10 a.m. The seven of us did it! Caps and gowns, tassels and hoods…we looked like big girls. I can’t believe after watching graduations for years that it was actually our turn. The whole team comes and it’s so well done with a reception and everything. So that’s it dear old Duke, I’m still here but no longer a college student. It’s a very big deal…now it’s time to extend my stay and win a National Championship. Up next for us, like I mentioned, is a (hopefully chartered) flight to Florida for a Saturday game against the Gators. I’ll be watching Swamp People all week…thanks for checking in and hopefully I’ll be back next week with good news!
Love, lax, Emma’s brace tan and new bathing suits,
-Christie Keene Kaestner, new alum-
P.S. Speaking of Emma, did everyone know she was named a Tewaaraton finalist? In case you didn’t know, it’s a HUGE deal and you better believe I’ll be attendance for her ceremony. She makes my job on the field extremely easy…so proud of her!