ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Five different Blue Devils registered goals and the Duke defense held eighth-seeded Navy scoreless for over 40 minutes en route to a 10-5 victory over the Mids Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
With the victory, Duke improved its ledger to 14-5 (2-3 ACC) and advances to the NCAA quarterfinals for the 13th time in program history. The squad will face top-seeded Maryland Saturday, May 18 at 12 p.m. in College Park, Md., following the Terrapins’ 11-3 win over Stony Brook Sunday.
“I want to congratulate Navy on a great game,” said head coach Kerstin Kimel. “I’m very proud of our team. We’re calling on a lot of different kids to do different things and play outside of the roles they otherwise would play for us. It’s what we want this time of year – you want people stepping up and that’s what we have right now.”
Navy won the opening draw and struck first on a tally by Aimee Gennaro, but freshman midfielder Maddy Acton, who scored the game-winner in Friday evening’s first round victory over Princeton, responded just a minute later for the Blue Devils. The two teams then swapped goals again before the Mids took a two-goal advantage at 4-2 with 19:50 to play in the half.
Duke grabbed its first lead a little over eight minutes later, capitalizing on a pair of caused turnovers by senior defender Mie Graham to rattle off three consecutive scores. Junior Molly Quirke and sophomore Kerrin Maurer each provided unassisted tallies and sophomore Taylor Trimble contributed a free position goal during the run.
The Blue Devil defense kept the Mids off the board for the remainder of the period, and Trimble wrapped a ball around the post on a Kelci Smesko feed with 11 seconds remaining to give Duke a 6-4 advantage heading into the locker room.
“We made a small adjustment after the first couple goals, and I felt like once we did that, it disrupted Navy’s rhythm,” Kimel said. “That was our goal – take them out of what they want to do. And I thought our kids did that very successfully.”
The scoring burst continued for the Duke attack in the second half, as Smesko found Trimble again and Maurer converted on a dish from junior Maddy Morrissey. Smesko then netted the Blue Devils’ seventh unanswered goal on a Maurer assist to push the score to 9-4 with 20 minutes remaining, and tacked on one more on a Trimble assist with 37 seconds to go to cap the 10-5 victory.
Freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea was solid in the net during the Duke run, helping the defense hold Navy scoreless for 41:03. The defensive unit also powered the squad to a perfect 15-of-15 on the day in clearing attempts and edged Navy in ground balls, 13-11, with Duryea and Quirke picking up three each. Duryea also reached double-digits in the saves column with 10 against 22 Navy shots.
Duke also featured a balanced attack on the afternoon, with Smesko totaling five points (3g, 2a), Trimble four (3g, 1a) and Maurer three (2g, 1a).
“Today has been the most rhythmic and transition-oriented offense that we’ve felt in a while,” Trimble said. “That’s been our focus for the past few weeks – really being confident with the ball, carry strong with the ball, going back to basics. Just working on that for the past few weeks has really come together for us.”
The two teams recorded 22 shots each in the contest while the Mids took the draw by a 9-8 margin. Gennaro and Jill Coughlin paced the Navy attack with two goals each in the loss while Annie Foky made seven stops in goal.
The Blue Devils will travel to College Park, Md., Saturday, May 18 for the second time this season to take on No. 1 seed Maryland in the quarterfinal round.