COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The eighth-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team held top-seeded and top-ranked Maryland to five goals in the first 25 minutes of play but ultimately fell by a score of 14-9 in the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at the Terrapins’ Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
Trailing 14-5 midway through the second half, the Blue Devils closed the contest with four answered scores, but were unable to erase the earlier deficit, finishing the season with a 14-6 ledger (2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“I was really proud of our kids, how hard we fought,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “We got the looks that we wanted to get. I think the thing that hurt us was our turnovers. Last weekend we did an exceptional job taking care of the ball and that’s something we pride ourselves in, and I think today, if you look at our clearing, we were 9-for-13 … Maryland plays a great scrambled game, and if you allow too much of that, then I think you can dig yourself into a hole really quickly and I think we did that unfortunately.”
Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea matched a career-high with 15 saves in the loss, while juniors Maddy Morrissey and Molly Quirke led the Duke attack with three goals apiece and sophomore Kerrin Maurer added four assists.
Senior defender Mie Graham won the opening draw for Duke but the Terrapins were the first to put a shot on goal, jumping out to a 2-0 advantage. Propelled by Duryea’s four early saves, the Blue Devil defense held Maryland scoreless over the next four and a half minutes of play, with a caused turnover by junior Tara Stokes setting up an unassisted tally by Morrissey at the 20:25 mark.
Alex Aust provided a spark for the Terrapin attack over the remainder of the opening period, registering three goals and assisting teammate Kristen Lamon on another. The Duke defense kept the squad within striking distance, however, with Duryea totaling nine saves in the first half. Maurer capitalized, finding sophomore Taylor Trimble once and Quirke twice, but Maryland maintained a four-goal advantage at 8-4 heading into the locker room.
The Terrapins continued their scoring burst after the intermission, as Aust powered the squad to a 3-0 run to open the half. Morrissey converted a free position opportunity at the 21:55 mark to pull the Blue Devils within six, but Maryland did not let up, continuing to create turnovers and taking advantage on the offensive end for a 14-5 lead with 15 minutes to go.
Following a couple of key wins at the draw, Duke rattled off a pair of quick goals, with freshman attacker Kelci Smesko netting her 30th of the year and Morrissey completing a hat trick on a Quirke assist. The Blue Devils then extended the late rally as Quirke recorded a free position goal and senior Alyssa Ogle added a score on Maurer’s fourth assist of the afternoon, but the Terrapins held on for the 14-9 victory.
Aust led all scorers with seven points on five goals and two assists and Griffin contributed four points (3g, 1a). Kasey Howard posted seven saves in the net for Maryland. For the game, the Terrapins outshot Duke, 34-18, and won the ground ball battle by a 19-8 margin. The Blue Devils held the advantage at the draw, notching 16 draw controls to Maryland’s 10.
Stokes set a career-high with three caused turnovers and Maurer led the Blue Devils at the draw, registering four on the day. The defense also limited Tewaaraton Award finalist Katie Schwarzmann to two goals.
Duke concludes the 2013 season with a final ledger of 14-6 after making the program’s ninth consecutive appearance in the tournament quarterfinals. The Blue Devils are now 19-16 all-time in NCAA Tournament games and hold a 6-7 record in quarterfinal contests. Maryland improves to 21-0 on the season and moves on to the NCAA semifinals.