Following its first loss of the season to No. 1 Maryland, No. 5 Duke bounced back with a 15-12 win against Vanderbilt, giving the team momentum heading into what may be the most intriguing time of year for coaches and players alike—spring break.
Two of the Blue Devils’ three spring break games will be on the road, with one being in Jacksonville, Fla. during the middle of the week. Although their focus is needed to compete, Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel insists that she will allow her team to enjoy itself over the break.
“Our trip [to Jacksonville] is going to cover a couple of days where the girls are going to get a little bit of time to be on the beach, because it is spring break,” Kimel said. “I want the kids to come back from spring break a little refreshed.”
But before the Blue Devils get a chance to relax, they will take on No. 8 Georgetown (4-0) in Washington D.C. Saturday.
Georgetown will look to continue its hot streak, as the Hoyas have been winning their contests by an average of 4.75 goals, including back-to-back wins against Princeton and Stanford. An upset of a nationally-ranked team would strengthen Georgetown’s case for a top-5 ranking.
Saturday’s contest will feature two similarly-aged teams, as both Duke and Georgetown bring junior-laden teams to the nation’s capital to face off.
After their trip to D.C., the Blue Devils will travel to Jacksonville to face the Dolphins (4-2). Although unranked, the Dolphins will not be an easy win for Duke, as they enter the contest averaging 13.7 goals per game. Jacksonville, which also played Vanderbilt, handily defeated the Commodores 15-7 early on in the season.
“I think Jacksonville will be a different kind of test,” Kimel said. “We’ve never played them before, they’re a very scrappy team.”
The break does not get easier for the Blue Devils following their trip to Florida, as they will return to Durham to take on No. 13 Dartmouth (4-0) the following Sunday. When the two teams met last season, the Big Green beat Duke 9-8 in double overtime. Dartmouth will have over a week to prepare for the contest, as its last game before its matchup against Blue Devils will take place Saturday against No. 2 Florida.
All three of Duke’s spring break opponents will test its offense, as none of them are allowing teams to average more than 9.33 goals per contest.
If the Blue Devils hope to continue their success and gain any sort of momentum in the long run, they will need to have a 3-0 spring break. When they return, four of their remaining six games will come against teams ranked in the top 20.