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May 13, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. - The sixth-ranked Duke women's lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship quarterfinals for the eighth consecutive season as the Blue Devils downed No. 10 Virginia 11-9 Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium. Senior Kat Thomas led a balanced Blue Devil offense with three goals on the afternoon and Duke's defense limited Virginia to just two goals on five shots following the intermission.
"I think the biggest difference is we really buckled down in the second half defensively," said head coach Kerstin Kimel. "We didn't need to make huge adjustments coming out of halftime. We just needed to play our brand of defense, which I felt like we weren't doing in the first half. I felt like we were hesitant and we weren't being aggressive and we were being kind of indecisive. At halftime, you have a chance to collect the kids and look at them all and say, 'What we need to do is not hard; it's simple. We need to open our mouths, we need to talk, we need to direct people, we need to listen and we need to make plays.' I think you saw that in the second half. We gave Mollie [Mackler] an opportunity to make saves. I think that's attributed to our defense really stepping up and playing much more aggressively in the second half."
The seventh-seeded Blue Devils improve to 12-6 with the win and advance to next Saturday's quarterfinal round. Duke will face No. 2 seed Northwestern on 7 p.m. (CT) at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. The Blue Devils hold a 17-14 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and have now won two straight games against Virginia in the postseason event. The Cavaliers finished the season with an 11-8 overall record.
Duke, which looked to avenge a 14-12 loss to Virginia earlier this season, won the opening draw and converted the opportunity into a Brigid Smith free position goal 49 seconds into the game. Virginia answered shortly after, but the Blue Devils would take a 2-1 lead just over four minutes into the game off a Molly Quirke tally.