EVANSTON, Ill. - The seventh-seeded Duke women's lacrosse team twice built a two-goal lead to start the game, but the Blue Devils could not hold off No. 2 seed Northwestern, falling 12-7 in the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday evening at Lakeside Field.
After Duke scored four goals early in the first half, Northwestern put together a 10-3 run to close the contest as the Blue Devils failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunities.
Duke received two goals each from sophomore Maddy Morrissey and freshman Taylor Trimble, who bolstered her team-leading total to 28 for the season. Junior Makenzie Hommel, senior Amanda Jones and freshman Kerrin Maurer also added goals for the Blue Devils. Erin Fitzgerald paced the Northwestern offensive with four goals, followed by Shannon Smith with three.
"I think obviously this is a tough loss for us," said head coach Kerstin Kimel. "I am really proud of my team this year. We had a lot of ups and downs. We've had a lot of injuries. I thought we gave a hell of an effort tonight. I thought we did a lot of good things. We had a lot of great opportunities, unfortunately didn't finish on some of those, but in terms of how our season has gone, I told our team tonight that I am just really, really proud of them. They never got down over the course of the season, they always kept their heads up, they worked so hard, and they prepared well for every game. It's just always tough to end your season with a loss in the tournament, especially when you're a program that expects to be going to the Final Four."
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead early thanks to goals from Jones and Hommel. However the Wildcats knotted the score at two-all six minutes later. Duke continued its strong start, again building a two-goal lead. Morrissey netted a free position goal at the 14-minute mark, followed by a Trimble tally 35 seconds later.
Down by two, Northwestern's offense came to life over the final 13 minutes of the opening period scoring four unanswered goals to close out the stanza.
The Wildcats extended their lead to three to begin the second period before Trimble cut the advantage to 7-5 with her second goal of the day. Duke would not come any closer, however, as Northwestern outscored the Blue Devils 5-2 to close out the game.
Both Duke and Northwestern fired 18 shots each for the game, while the Wildcats led in draw controls 12-9, including a 7-3 margin in the second half.
In goal, Mollie Mackler had five saves on 18 shots and Northwestern's Brianne LoManto posted eight saves.
Duke concludes the season with a 12-7 overall record after making the program's eighth consecutive quarterfinal appearance. The Blue Devils are now 16-15 all-time in NCAA Tournament games and hold a 6-6 record in national quarterfinal contests. Northwestern moves to 19-2 and will face Maryland in the NCAA semifinals.