#NCAAWLax First Round ACCtion: Sunday, May 15

May 15, 2011

Duke Defeats Penn, Advances to NCAA Quarterfinals

DURHAM, N.C. - Two weeks ago, the Blue Devils dropped a 13-10 decision to the Quakers in Philadelphia, but No. 5 Duke did not waste the opportunity to exact revenge in the opening round of the 2011 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship, defeating ninth-ranked Penn 12-9 Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium.

The Blue Devils, now 14-4 on the year, move on to a second round bout with No. 4 Florida next weekend, while the Quakers conclude their season with an 11-6 ledger.

Duke's upperclassmen led the way for the Blue Devils with junior Kat Thomas (4g) and senior Sarah Bullard (3g) pacing the offense with a combined seven goals. Junior Kim Wenger and redshirt junior Emma Hamm both chipped in with a goal and two assists each, and senior Christie Kaestner bolstered her team-leading total to 43 assists this season after dishing out three today.

Penn struck first to start the game, breaking a scoreless tie at the 2:30 mark with a free position goal from Bridget Waclawik, but the Quakers' lead was short-lived after a 4-0 Duke run over the next seven minutes. Thomas registered an unassisted tally to tie things up at one-all before freshman Molly Quirke scored the first of her two goals on the day to give Duke the lead less than a minute later. Duke would never trail again the rest of the way with Thomas adding her second score and Bullard getting into the action to cap Duke's four-goal streak.

The first half belonged to the Blue Devils with Duke outshooting Penn 18-7 in the opening period. Duke also dominated the draw, 9-3.

Duke picked up where it left off to start the second half, notching back-to-back goals in the first 3:03 to extend its lead to 9-4 with just under 27 minutes left on the clock. Thomas picked up her third goal of the game just 44 seconds into the second stanza and Hamm followed with her team-leading 46th goal of the season 3:20 later.

Duke goalie Mollie Mackler finished the game with eight saves and the Blue Devils' defense caused 11 Penn turnovers on the afternoon. Quaker goaltender Emily Leitner tied a career-high with nine stops in the loss. v With the win, the Blue Devils advance to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season and will face No. 4 Florida Saturday, May 21 in Gainesville, Fla. Duke is in search of its sixth trip to the national semifinals and first since making four consecutive appearances at the final weekend from 2005-08.