It was going to be a struggle. After losing to then-No. 12 Notre Dame on March 10 and barely sliding past North Carolina in sudden death on March 13, the No. 4 Duke women's lacrosse team traveled to Princeton last night for their toughest matchup of the year.
With snow showers filling the air and the temperature hovering around 30 degrees in Princeton, N.J., the Blue Devils (5-2) were defeated 12-5 by the No. 1 Tigers (4-0).
"Unfortunately, every year we play Princeton and they teach us the lessons that we need to learn," head coach Kerstin Kimel said.
Princeton took an early lead when Tara Hardiman took a pass from Elizabeth Pillion and got past Megan Huether to score the first goal of the game. Two more quick goals increased the Princeton tally to three before Duke was able to get on the scoreboard.
However, the Blue Devils were not to be overlooked at the Class of 1952 Stadium last night. Instead, they fought back to tie the score at three with 11:18 left in the first half.
At 12:38, freshman Kristen Waagbo scored her 10th goal of the season to start the Duke scoring rally. With this goal and an assist on the night, Waagbo is leads the team with 20 points. Just over a minute after Waagbo scored, Meghan Walters and Katie Laschinger added goals that were 10 seconds apart.
The Tigers retook the lead before halftime, scoring two more goals. Princeton's fifth goal of the night came with 23 seconds left before halftime on a free-position tally by Lindsey Biles, who had four goals on the night.
"There were a lot of defensive errors," Kimel said. "[But] the bottom line is that we turned the ball over too much."
Kimel cited the beginning of the second half, as Duke won the faceoff, then promptly turned the ball over, allowing Princeton to maintain its momentum with the Tigers' Liza Hillenbrand scoring twice, one goal coming off a quick rebound shot, and increasing the lead to 7-3.
Although they got within three on two occasions, the Blue Devils were unable to close the scoring gap.
Despite allowing all 12 Princeton goals, Huether made 14 saves to keep Duke in the game. In last year's matchup at Duke, Huether only had half that number of saves.
"The bright spot of our game is that Meg saved pretty well," Kimel said.
Regardless of the loss, Kimel noted the likeness of this Blue Devil team--young and hampered by injuries--to her 2001 squad.
"I kind of compare it to in 2001 when we had a very similar start to the season, and it kind of took us getting hammered by Princeton for things to really sink in that we need to make adjustments with," Kimel said. "After we lost that game in '01, we went on a long streak through the ACCs. I think that our team is definitely capable of doing that, but we're young and not playing as smart as we need to play."
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.