ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Freshman midfielder Maddy Acton fired the game-winning goal in double overtime to send the eighth-ranked Duke women’s lacrosse team to a thrilling 10-9 NCAA First Round victory over No. 17 Princeton Friday evening in front of a crowd of 1,250 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
With the win, the Blue Devils improve to 13-5 (2-3 ACC) and advance to Sunday’s second round, where they will face No. 8 seed Navy at 12 p.m. The Mids won their first NCAA game in program history in Friday’s earlier game in Annapolis, topping Monmouth by a 12-6 score to move on to the second round.
“It’s a shame someone had to lose that game,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “I thought Princeton played great. I’m really proud of our kids … We talk about it being a team, and people had to step up in the absence of others. I thought we did a great job of that.”
Acton, junior Maddy Morrissey and sophomore Taylor Trimble finished with two scores apiece while sophomore Kerrin Maurer led the squad with four points (1g, 3a). For Princeton, Slifer, McMunn and Charlotte Davis totaled two goals each in the loss.
Maurer paced the Blue Devils to a fast start early in the first half, assisting Trimble and Acton on a pair of early goals and netting one of her own 10 minutes into the contest. However, the Tigers answered each Duke score and following an unassisted mark by Morrissey, went on to take a two-goal lead at 6-4 on a tally by leading scorer Erin McMunn.
A free position goal by Trimble with 7:13 remaining in the period pulled the Blue Devils back within one, but McMunn found the back of the net again for Princeton to give the Tigers a 7-5 advantage at the break.
Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea posted three saves in the first half and senior defender Lauren Martin registered two caused turnovers. Duke won the ground ball battle, 8-5, in the first 30 minutes of play but Princeton led in shots (14-13) and draw controls (10-3) heading into the second stanza.
“Throughout the game, we constantly were making adjustments,” Kimel said. “I thought the team did a really good job implementing them, out of stoppages of play – timeouts, halftime – and then communicating them.”
Junior Molly Quirke fought her way inside for a score four minutes into the second period to kick off a 3-0 run by the Blue Devils. Morrissey chipped in her second goal of the evening, tying the game at 7-all, and sophomore Erin Tenneson added a tally with 15 minutes to play to give Duke its first lead since 16:19 in the first half.
The Tigers evened up the score again at 8-8 before junior Sydney Peterson recorded her second goal of the season on an assist by Maurer with eight minutes left on the clock, pushing momentum back in Duke’s favor. The Blue Devil defense held Princeton scoreless for nearly 10 minutes in the meantime before the Tigers’ Erin Slifer notched the equalizer at the 2:50 mark, bringing the score to 9-9. Neither squad broke through for the remainder of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
After Princeton won the first draw in overtime, Duke forced the Tigers into a turnover as Morrissey drew a charge. The junior midfielder had a look at the goal a short while later, but missed just wide, forcing a second ‘sudden death’ overtime period. Acton provided the dagger just 45 seconds into the second overtime to propel the Blue Devils to the 10-9 victory.
“I expected this to be a tight game,” Kimel said. “Tonight, being able to pull it out on such a big stage, I’m really proud of this group … I’m thrilled that we get to move on and play another day.”
For the game, The Blue Devils outshot Princeton, 25-20, while the Tigers held a 17-5 advantage at the draw.
Quirke tallied a team-high three draw controls and Duryea and sophomore Gabby Moise picked up three ground balls each as Duke won the category by a 16-11 margin. Duryea also registered six saves in the net, and her counterpart, Caroline Franke of Princeton, posted four.
The Blue Devils improved their program record to 18-15 all-time in NCAA Tournament contests and 12-3 in the first round with the win.