Ninth-ranked Duke overpowered No. 19 Stanford en route to a 13-8 victory at Arlotta Stadium in South Bend, Ind., where the Blue Devils secured a spot in the second round of the playoffs and rematch against ACC foe Notre Dame.
“We had so many different people contribute and being threats on offense,” Kimel said. “And huge credit to our defense – they played so well today. Stanford has a lot of threats as well, and I thought we did a great job, particularly on their top players ...Kelsey Duryea was seeing the ball really well today. I also thought the defense did a good job of making sure that the shots that she saw were pretty limited. I was really proud of our team.”
After ending the season on a 2-4 slide, the Blue Devils were determined to right the ship heading into the playoffs. Duke succeeded in doing so by spreading the field and attacking the Cardinal from all directions. By the time the final buzzer sounded, five different Blue Devils had scored at least two goals. Junior attack Kerrin Maurer led all scorers with four goals on the evening.
Duke also managed to be efficient in its opening round win, as 13 of its 20 shots found the back of the net compared to an 8-of-26 clip posted by Stanford. Blue Devil goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea outperformed her Cardinal counterpart by nabbing nine saves to Katie Wiseman's three.
“Our game plan was to try to come out and try to go right after Stanford, which we did,” Kimel said. “Stanford was very good on the draw, which put a lot of pressure on our defense. We were playing long sets on defense, and then on offense we wanted to try to settle the ball down.”
Duke will have to quickly put the win behind it and focus on the task at hand in Notre Dame.
Against the Fighting Irish the first time around—exactly one month ago Sunday—the Blue Devils were not nearly as efficient shooting the ball, as they only managed to net 33.3 percent of their shots. But what Duke lacked in aim, it made up for in heart, as the Blue Devils nearly came back from a four-goal deficit with less than eight minutes remaining only to see it slip away in the closing seconds, ultimately falling 12-10.
With the experience and momentum both teams carry into Sunday's matchup—Notre Dame blew past High Point 18-4—those in attendance at Arlotta Stadium at noon will be in for one of the better second round matchups.