Saturday, May 18, 2013

Duke expects challenge against undefeated Maryland

The 10th-ranked Duke Blue Devils travel to face the top-ranked Maryland Terrapins in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament at F.H. & Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Md. on Saturday.

The Blue Devils (14-5) are riding a three-game win streak after coming up short in a disappointing 10-7 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament three weeks ago.

Duke beat both Princeton (10-9 OT) and Navy (10-5) to advance to their 13th appearance in the NCAA tournament quarter-finals.

The top-seeded Terrapins (20-0) are the team to beat in the postseason tournament, and Duke has been working to prepare itself accordingly as they will face Maryland for the 26th time in the two teams’ history.

“Our experience from last weekend has us feeling really good, really excited to go up to Maryland,” Duke head coach Kirsten Kimel said.

“We know it’s a challenge, but we have nothing to lose. They have not lost a game all year. I think our first game of the year (against Maryland), we were not aggressive playing them at all. We got into a hole early against them, but I think we’ve evolved a lot since then, so I’m looking forward to going up there and giving them a real challenge.”

Even though she has been cleared to practice, Duke will likely not have top goal scorer Makenzie Hommel back in the lineup, as she is still recovering from a concussion injury suffered during the ACC tournament.

“It’s really up to her and how she’s feeling,” Kimel said.

“I think she’s trying to be smart about it.”

Even without Hommel, the Blue Devils’ two wins in the NCAA tournament so far has shown how other scoring leaders like Kerrin Maurer, the team’s top point-getter, and Tayolor Trimble have helped to keep the Blue Devils on their path of success  so far at the offensive end of the field.

The Duke defense led by freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea, recently selected as a second-team All-American, at one point held Navy scoreless for 40 minutes, during the team’s first-round win.

The Blue Devils will also rely on senior close defender Lauren Martin to lead the way in front of Duryea, and junior first-team All-American midfielder Taylor Virden to contribute with valuable draw-control possessions.

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