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Terps await in semifinal rematch

Another day, another win against Virginia.

The third-seeded Blue Devils (15-3) defeated the sixth-seeded Cavaliers (8-11), 5-1, Thursday at the ACC Championship. It was the second time in five days that Duke had defeated Virginia by four goals.

The victory sets up a semifinals rematch with third-seeded Maryland at 7 p.m. in College Park, Md. The Terrapins have beaten the Blue Devils in two straight contests, including a 2-0 shutout Oct. 8 and a 3-2 win in last season's ACC Championship.

Duke managed to come out strong right out of the gate Thursday. Freshman Marian Dickinson opened the scoring 14:26 into the first half off an assist from classmate Laura Suchoski for her first postseason goal. The Blue Devils struck again seven minutes later on a goal by Cara-Lynn Lopresti and never looked back from there.

"We played the same throughout the game and stayed pretty aggressive," Lopresti said. "If you look at the goals they were spread out."

Freshman Julie Tromp led Duke with two goals while both Lopresti and senior Katie Grant finished the game with a goal and two assists.

In addition, goalie Christy Morgan held the Cavaliers scoreless for most of the game before letting in the first goal of her past three starts with 19 seconds remaining.

Although the team came away with the win, Grant said the Blue Devils could have played at a faster pace. The team was pleased that it held onto the ball and kept control over the game's momentum against Virginia, but the Blue Devils realize they will face stiffer competition today against Maryland.

"The biggest emphasis now is to play a total 70 minutes and get up for every part of the game," Lopresti said. "Any lull or letdown can really punish us with the harder teams. Going into tomorrow we want to come out strong and be strong the whole time."

The key to Duke's success tonight against the Terps will be its ability to set the tempo from the start. In the Oct. 8 game, the Terrapins scored a goal 5:35 into the first half and used their defense to hold on, despite a relentless assault from the Blue Devils' talented forwards. Duke outshot Maryland, 25-8, in the game, but could not capitalize on its opportunities.

"We definitely need to come out hard in the first ten minutes and set the tone and have them adjust to us," Grant said. "Hopefully we can get on the board and have a really strong start and try to maintain that start throughout the game."

Maryland goalie Kathryn Masson is tied for the ACC lead in shutouts per game, and the Terps have allowed less than a goal per contest this season.

"We're just going to keep putting the shots on the cage and try to beat a really talented good keeper," Grant said. "Last time, I think we were taking a lot of weak shots close inside the circle, so I think we need to try and take shots at the top of the circle, get the rebound and keep the pressure on-[Masson is] going to falter at some point."

Defending ACC and national champion Wake Forest will meet North Carolina in the other semifinal match. The fourth-seeded Tar Heels slid past fifth-seeded Boston College, 2-1, Thursday.

The final will be played Sunday at noon in College Park, Md.

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