North Carolina Edges Duke, 12-11, in Semifinal Action of ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship
April 27, 2007
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The battle between two longtime cross-road rivals provided much excitement from start to finish, as the Tar Heels came away with a 12-11 victory over No. 2 seed Duke in the first semifinal game of the 2007 ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship at Fetzer Field. North Carolina will appear in the title game for the first time since 2002 and fourth all-time.
UNC had eight players tally a goal as Kristen Taylor and Christina Juras each totaled three apiece, while four Blue Devils scored at least two goals each. Leigh Jester led Duke with three goals, and Rachel Sanford and Allie Johnson each had two.
"It was a classic UNC-Duke game today," North Carolina head coach Jenny Levy said. "It seems like in every sport, it comes down to the wire with these two schools. Last Friday, we experienced the agony of defeat. Today, we got the thrill of the victory. Duke's got some great players and we could see them again in the NCAA Tournament."
Most of the first half was a back and forth between the longtime rivals, with Duke wasting no time to take an early lead. Junior attack Leigh Jester handed off to teammate Kristen Waagbo, who found the back of the net just 40 seconds into the game. UNC quickly answered back as Jess Allen took a pass from Kristen Taylor and nailed a shot wide on the next possession, putting the Tar Heels on the board and tying things up.
Offense was in high gear for both teams, as the two traded goals for the remainder of the half. The Tar Heels took their first lead of the game at the 24:53 mark on an unassisted goal by Meg Freshwater. UNC extended its lead to 4-2 less than a minute later after Christina Juras sailed a shot past Duke's goalie Kim Imbessi. Allen picked up the assist on Juras' goal.
After calling a timeout, the Blue Devils came back to tie the game 4-4. Caroline Cryer came around the left side of the net and dropped the ball low past All-American goalie Kristen Hordy. A few minutes later, Waagbo fed a shot to Jester who turned around and tossed in the second of three goals in the game.
Duke went on to tally a pair of unassisted goals (Rachel Sanford, Allie Johnson) and extended its lead to 6-4. UNC would call a timeout to regroup and then scored on its next two possessions, as Julia Ryan and Melissa McCarthy each picked up a goal to even the playing field, 6-6.
The Tar Heels returned from the break, scoring two more goals. Kristen Taylor scored with three minutes in the second half, and Juras netted her third goal of the game to lift UNC to an 8-6 advantage.
With each goal scored by the Tar Heels, Duke provided an answer. The Blue Devils tied the game at 10-10 with 12:31 on the clock when Rachel Sanford scored on a free position, collecting her second goal of the game.
UNC would step things up with two more goals, one each from Kelly Taylor and Chelsea Parks, for a 12-10 lead.
Duke's Jester flicked a shot with 8:59 remaining, but it would be the last goal for the Blue Devils as the Tar Heels held on for a 12-11 victory.
"North Carolina did a great job," Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "It was a game similar to last week. Carolina had the edge today, while we had it last week. We had missed opportunities and there were some chances that we didn't capitalize on."
The ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship title game will take place Sunday, April 29. Fox Sports South will televise the championship game with face-off set for 1 p.m.