DURHAM, N.C. – With a three-goal victory over Penn last weekend, the fifth-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament and will face No. 4 Florida Saturday, May 21 in Gainesville, Fla. Opening draw is slated for 3 p.m. from the Gators’ Dizney Stadium.
Duke's first round win over the Quakers snapped the Blue Devils' two-game skid to close out the regular season as Duke enters Saturday’s contest with a 14-4 (4-1 ACC) record. 2011 marks the Blue Devils' 14th consecutive trip to the tournament as Duke is 15-13 all-time in NCAA Championship play and has advanced to the quarterfinal round in each of the last seven seasons.
Florida, in just its second varsity season, has put together a 16-3 overall record in 2011 and won the ALC regular season title with a 5-0 league mark. The Gators advanced to the quarterfinals with a 13-10 win over Stanford last Saturday.
The Blue Devils boast a balanced attack, which ranks second in the conference and seventh in the nation in scoring offense (14.48 gpg). Tops on the team in points is All-ACC selection Christie Kaestner (30a, 43a), who also leads the team and the ACC in assists per game (2.33 apg). Following close behind with 70 points is Tewaaraton finalist and All-ACC pick Emma Hamm, who leads the team in goals (46) and draw controls (65) this season. Additionally, Duke’s midfield contains another pair of All-ACC picks in Kat Thomas (42g, 55 dc) and Kim Wenger (16g, 19a).
The Gators are led by sophomore ALC Player of the Year Kitty Cullen with 83 points on 75 goals and eight assists. Duke’s young defense, which leads the ACC in caused turnovers (9.61) and draw controls (14.72 dcpg), will be given the task of slowing down Cullen, whose 3.95 goals per game average ranks second in the country, while also factoring in All-ALC honorees Ashley Bruns (45g, 25a) and Janine Hillier (32g, 6a).
The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the national semifinals to take on the winner of top-seeded Maryland and Princeton. The semifinal contest will take place Friday, May 27 from Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium on the campus of Stony Brook University. The semifinal games will be streamed live in HD on www.NCAA.com at 5 and 7:30 p.m. (ET), while 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.