Duke meets Terps in Final Four

How many NCAA team championships has Duke won?

The answer might surprise you--six.

Not six dozen this decade, not six this season--in the history of Duke athletics, just six Blue Devil teams have hoisted NCAA championship trophies.

Men's basketball has won three titles (1991, 1992, 2001), women's golf two (1999 and 2002) and men's soccer one (1986).

By comparison, perennial Sears Cup contender Stanford has captured 85 national championships, Texas owns 42 titles and Maryland can lay claim to 35. Duke's arch-rival, North Carolina, has 36 championship trophies on display in its trophy cases.

And with the fall season's sports completed with the exception of a few teams, Duke's last-and best-hope to win championship number seven is in Amherst, Ma. this weekend at the field hockey Final Four. Duke's field hockey team (19-3), ranked No. 2 in the nation and the seeded second, will play conference rival Maryland (20-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday night in the national semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

It is the first Final Four appearance ever for Duke, which has had its best season in program history under new coach Beth Bozman, who said she does not want the team to lose sight of the big picture.

"What we're trying to tell them to do is just have fun because people play their whole lives just to get to the Final Four, and sometimes you forget your success," Bozman said.

Wake Forest, the 2002 NCAA Champion, plays unseeded Michigan in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. The Demon Deacons' only loss this year came against Duke, when the Blue Devils beat the defending champions 1-0 in Winston-Salem in early October. Wake Forest avenged the loss two weeks ago in the finals of the conference tournament, defeating Duke 3-2 in overtime.

The Final Four is ACC-laden after the conference's top-four teams--Wake Forest, North Carolina, Maryland and Duke--stayed mostly true to their rankings after occupying the top-four slots in national polls for most of the season. The No. 4 seed Tar Heels' loss to the Wolverines in the second round last Sunday was the first for any of the four aforementioned ACC teams in 58 non-conference games, including playoffs, this season.

"We just keep telling them that we were basically in the Final Four two weeks ago," Bozman said. "We're just trying to relate it to that whole experience and tell them that it's not going to be any different, and isn't."

The Blue Devils beat Maryland 3-1 early last month in Durham, which was the opening bookend of a three-game stretch in which Duke defeated the Terrapins, Wake Forest and North Carolina. That week was the best week possible for any field hockey team, short of a week that included winning a championship, Bozman said.

The Blue Devils defeated American and Old Dominion in the first two rounds of the tournament to reach the semifinals while third-seeded Maryland beat California and Penn State in order to get to Amherst. The Terps, who won the title in 1999, did not allow a goal in those two games. However, none of this seems to faze the Blue Devils.

"We just really want the game to get here," Bozman said. "We know what we can do when we play well."


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