Top-Ranked Terps Race to Early Lead, Down Duke
|Duke won 16 of 26 draws, but
Maryland's tough ride kep the Blue Devils from capitalizing on
their possessions in the Terps' 14-9 win.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Powered by a seven-point performance from Tewaaraton Award finalist Alex Aust, No. 1 seed Maryland raced to a 14-9 victory over visiting Duke in the NCAA Division I women's quarterfinals on Saturday. With the win, the Terps (21-1) advance to their fifth straight NCAA semifinal appearance, where they will meet No. 4 Syracuse, a quarterfinal winner over Florida.
"It's the last 60 minutes I'll ever play on that field, so it was about taking care of business and moving onto the final four in Philly," Aust said.
The senior attacker's five goals and two assists moved her into third place on Maryland's all-time single-season point (119) list. She was one of seven Terps who scored in the game, despite a standout performance from Blue Devils freshman goalie Kelsey Duryea, who tied a career high with 15 saves.
"We were fast breaking and pushing the tempo a little bit and sometimes we were almost too fast for our own good and fired right at her," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "Once we would take an extra second on that, our shooters did a nice job of putting it around her."
Maryland struck first on a wraparound shot from midfielder Brooke Griffin (3g, 1a) at 26:24, then freshman attacker Halle Majorana added another goal on a putback off a great Duryea save less than three minutes later. Duke responded with an outside shot by Maddy Morrissey (3g) at 20:25, but the Terps so thoroughly dominated possession in the first half that the Blue Devils' defense had little chance to recover between goals. By halftime, the score was 8-4.
"We just trying to get ball back, and we're all working really hard to re-defend," Griffin said.
While Duke won 16 of 26 draws, Maryland's tough ride kept the Blue Devils from capitalizing on their possessions. Duke committed 25 turnovers during the game. Junior midfielder Molly Quirke led the Blue Devils with three goals and one assist and sophomore attacker Kerrin Maurer added four assists.
"Maryland plays a great scrambled game, and if you allow too much of that you can dig yourself into a hole really quickly and we did that unfortunately," Duke coach Kerstin Kimel said. "What do you do with Maryland? I thought we did an awesome job limiting Schwarzmann today and then we gave up five goals to Alex Aust. They've got a lot of weapons and they're poised to do some really great things heading into final four weekend."
Maryland led 14-5 midway through the second half, before Duke put together a minor rally, scoring four consecutive goals in seven minutes to close the gap to five. But it was insufficient to overcome the early deficit.
"That's something that we're going to work on, and it won't happen again," senior defender Iliana Sanza said of the Blue Devils' late run.
Maryland will need to clamp down on Syracuse in the final four. The Orange average 15.45 goals per game and defeated Florida 13-9 in the quarterfinals. The Terps defeated Syracuse 19-11 on Feb. 17 in their last meeting, but Reese downplayed the significance of such an early season game in the context of the postseason.
"We're thrilled to be in the position we're in, excited and looking forward to being one of the last four teams standing and heading to the final four next week," Reese said. "One of our things that we're really big on, and you guys probably get sick of hearing me say this, is we're one game at a time. I didn't want us to overlook today. We'll get back to work on Monday."