WASHINGTON, D.C. - Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea saved a Georgetown free position attempt with five seconds remaining to send the sixth-ranked Duke women's lacrosse team to an 11-10 victory over the 11th-ranked Hoyas Saturday afternoon at Multi-Sport Field. Duryea finished with 11 saves in just her second start in goal as the Blue Devils improved to 6-1 overall and 1-1 against ranked opponents while handing Georgetown (4-1) its first loss of the season.
"It shows incredible poise for a freshman to make such a big stop at such a critical point in a big game," said head coach Kerstin Kimel of Duryea's performance. "Georgetown outshot us in this game, so I feel like our defense did a great job of forcing them to take some not great shots, and Kelsey obviously made some great saves."
Six different Blue Devil players recorded a point, led by sophomore Kerrin Maurer's five points on two goals and three assists. Senior Makenzie Hommel collected her third hat trick of the season while sophomore Brigid Smith, sophomore Taylor Trimble and freshman Kelci Smesko all added two goals apiece. Trimble also won a team-high four draw controls and junior Taylor Virden guided the defense with four ground balls.
The opening 15 minutes of the contest were a back-and-forth affair, with Georgetown winning the opening draw but the Blue Devils getting on the board first on a goal by Hommel. Two more scores from Hommel and a goal by Smith on a Molly Quirke assist gave Duke a 6-3 advantage with 11:49 to go in the period. Despite a stifling defensive effort from the Blue Devils, the Hoyas responded with two tallies over the final four minutes - including a goal with the clock expiring - to cut Duke's lead to 7-5 at the intermission.
Duryea made five stops in the first period while Hommel paced the squad offensively with three first-half goals.
"We were really doing a good job of reading Georgetown's defense," Kimel said. "I thought we were poised, we took good care of the ball and we found open people. I'm happy to see our young team take a game plan and put it into action."
The Blue Devils kept the momentum rolling in the second half as Maurer worked her way around the front post early on for her 17th goal of the season. After a tally by Georgetown's Erin Lovett, sophomore Taylor Trimble and Maurer each scored to give Duke its largest lead of the afternoon at 10-6.
Two consecutive goals by the Hoyas and a couple of turnovers by the Blue Devils made it a two-goal game with 17:08 to play. Freshman Kelci Smesko ended what was nearly a 19-minute scoring drought for Duke, bouncing one past Georgetown goalkeeper Barb Black to push the margin back to three at the 3:22 mark. Kelyn Freedman provided the answer for the Hoyas less than a minute later, and teammate Caroline Tarzian converted a free position attempt with 57 seconds remaining to put Georgetown within one at 11-10.
A turnover by the Blue Devils on the ensuing possession gave the ball back to the Hoyas, who then earned another free position attempt with five seconds to go. On the free position, Georgetown's Kelsi Bozel fired a shot at Duryea in goal from the right hash, but the Blue Devil freshman came up with her biggest save of the afternoon to preserve the win for Duke.
"I was trying to just watch the ball - that was the biggest thing," Duryea said. "Right before, Maddy Morrissey came up to me and patted me on the helmet and said, 'You've got this.' Knowing that my defenders have confidence in me keeps me calm and lets me know I can do it."
On the day, the Blue Devils were 13-of-14 on clear attempts and matched the Hoyas with 11 ground balls. Georgetown led in shots, 33-15, and had a 12-10 advantage at the draw.
"I think Georgetown can be a tough place to play," Kimel said. "We had a few too many turnovers, especially in the beginning of the second half, but I'm pleased we were able to not let all of that factor in. There are things to work on and get better at going forward."
Duke continues its road swing with a visit to Jacksonville Wednesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m.