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Blue Devils earn No. 3 seed in NCAAs

For the second consecutive season, Duke will be forced to travel away from Williams Field for the start of the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils (15-4) were named the third seed heading into the first and second rounds of this weekend's tournament, but will have to travel to Princeton, N.J. for their opening round games.

"This is what we expected," head coach Beth Bozman said. "After the [ACC Tournament] we were pretty sure we'd be the three seed."

ACC Tournament champion Maryland was the surprise number-one seed despite having more losses than second-seeded Wake Forest. The Terrapins (19-2) handed the Deamon Deacons (19-1) their only loss Nov. 6 with a 3-2 win in the finals of the event in College Park, Md.

With Duke, Wake Forest and fourth-seeded Old Dominion all located in the southern United States, Bozman said her team was not surprised when they learned they would be playing on the road again.

"We knew that probably two teams would be leaving," Bozman said. "If they're going to send two out because there are three teams in the south region, I think it's just fair that the higher seed is the one that stays."

The Blue Devils will open the tournament on Nov. 12 with an 11 a.m. matchup against Princeton (9-8). The Tigers were chosen to host the tournament's games due to their close proximity to Boston College and Connecticut, the other teams in Duke's bracket. As in other non-revenue sports, locations for the field hockey tournament are selected with ease of travel in mind.

Bozman has close ties with Princeton, having served as the head coach there for 15 years before coming to Duke three years ago. While coaching the Tigers, Bozman compiled a 188-73-6 overall record and led them to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including two trips to the national title game. In addition, Duke assistant coach Kelly Baril was the starting goalie at Princeton under Bozman before graduating in 2003.

"We are certainly very familiar with Princeton, but we will look at it as any other opponent trying to get in our way as we try to advance to the next level," Bozman said.

The ACC has five out of its six teams in the tournament, the most of any conference in the country. Of those five teams, four of them are in Duke's half of the bracket, including the Deamon Deacons, who have eliminated the Blue Devils from the tournament in each of the last two seasons. While those two loses came in the national title game, the two teams would meet this year in the semifinals in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 18.


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