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Duke junior Emma Tucci will be blogging throughout the 2012-13 season, giving Duke fans an inside look at life on the Blue Devil women's lacrosse team. Look for Emma's blog all year on GoDuke.com.

Happy October Duke Lacrosse Fans!

It's the best month of the year. No, seriously...we have six Duke lax fam birthdays (including Caroline Kimel). October also marks the first time we get to compete against other teams. Oh, and Halloween is also probably the second most important event on our team (my class took home the crown last year...)

After another successful week of practice, we were ready to gear up for our first big road trip. With the fall weather slowly trickling in, the team was eager to take the field against some of our favorite competitors. These tournaments are the best way for the team to get closer and bond before we all part ways for fall break.

On Friday, (Callie Francis' birthday) we departed from Durham around 4:30pm. The bus was loaded with cupcakes, candy and all of our other healthy snacks. We quickly learned that we were in for a very interesting ride. After trying to play the first movie, our bus driver sadly reported that the DVD player was completely out of commission. However, after the initial shock waves of panic left our minds, we decided to find entertainment elsewhere. The freshmen and our new manager Aton took to the microphone and performed some of the latest hits, a capella style. Kaki Jennison and Kelci Smesko gave quite the performance - Adele and Beyonce better watch out. The music continued to blast throughout the eight-hour bus ride, thanks to DJ Kerrin Maurer and backup dancers Angel Thompson and Lauren Martin.

After finally making our way into the great state of Pennsylvania (depends who you're asking...) we were all ready for some sleep and comfy hotel beds. The lights went out quickly because we knew Saturday's alarm would come ringing in just a few hours.

The morning over at USTC was more than eventful...after the first malfunction on the bus, we quickly realized that we were in for another curveball: the storage compartments on the bus wouldn't unlock. This left about half of the team, including our goalies, without equipment. We tried WWD-40 and manpower, but it finally took power tools and the trusty Mr. Hommel to get the job done. While all of the commotion was taking place, Sarah Kendrick and Mie Graham made sure that the rest of the team ran through our warm up routine. Shortly after Mr. Hommel came to the rescue, we were finally ready to take the field against Temple. The bus incidents were among the many weird occurrences of the weekend just FYI.

The first scrimmage of the day was an awesome kickoff for the weekend! We played fast and aggressive in transition and the tough workouts with [sports performance coach Jeff] Howser seemed to be paying off. Katilin Gaiss played out of her mind, and came up with some clutch saves. Maddy Morrissey got back to her usual shakin and bakin, leaving her defenders in the dust. Taylor Virden and Erin Tenneson lead the team in interceptions, looking like Night Train Lane back in his glory days. Overall, the first scrimmage, despite a minor bus dilemma, was extremely successful and people were making plays all over the field.

With a little time in between our scrimmages, the team headed over to our Duke tent and reconnected with our most loyal fan base. It was great to see our parents, siblings and alumni (hey, Kim Wenger and Emma Hamm) that came out to support us! Not to mention, we somehow always manage to have the best baked goods at tailgates. I think I had at least two red velvet cupcakes during our break (my bad).

In our last two scrimmages against Villanova and Lehigh, Coach Kimel left us with a few pointers: have each other's backs, and communicate! The one thing we have all learned is that when the "Rigor Mortis" starts to set in, we have to overcompensate and use our voices. Going into the end of our competitions, Taylor Trimble and her partner in crime, Kerrin Maurer, went to work and the dynamic duo scored on several beautiful connections. Maddie Salmone got sneaky and came up with clutch draw controls, and with the help of Chelsea Landon, Duke dominated on the circle.

Defensively, freshmen Jordan McCarthy and Claire Scarrone got their hands dirty and reminded the returning players how useful a loud voice can be. It was also great to see Tara Stokes back in the action after she spent the summer working hard to rehab her knee. She is a warrior.

After a great day at USTC, we quickly loaded up the bus, gave those last hugs to our parents and headed down to D.C. for a team dinner. The travel polos were back in action, and yes, we looked good.

Day two rolled around and brought in the cold and slightly rainy weather ... But hey it's the Final Four of fall ball, and we couldn't let anything get in the way of winning the ship. On Sunday we were set to play Northwestern, Maryland and Florida in the Play for Parkinson's tournament in Alexandria, Virginia. We started off the morning, after scoring some sweet tournament gear, playing our favorite canine pet: the Cats. The tempo between any Duke-Northwestern match-up is always intense and fast. Our defense stole the show, and shut down some of Northwestern's most powerful weapons.

The remaining two scrimmages were definitely challenging given that we had played a full schedule on Saturday, and our bodies were feelings the effects. However, our scrimmages against Maryland and Florida were extremely helpful in allowing us to recognize what we need to work on throughout the rest of the fall. I have a feeling we're going to be doing a lot of groundball drills ... Overall, our first weekend of competition left us with a lot to be proud of. We are team with tremendous heart and hustle.

Be sure to check back in after fall break for more updates on your favorite (and YouTube famous) Duke team!!!!

Lots of Duke Lax Love,

Ocho  


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