Women's lax begins season with 2 road victories

Duke kicked off its 2007 campaign with a record-setting weekend.

Caroline Cryer tied the Duke record for goals in one game with seven in the No. 2 Blue Devils' 19-6 blowout of Denver Friday, and Kristen Waagbo became the all-time Duke assists leader in the Blue Devils' 14-8 win at No. 18 Stanford Sunday afternoon.

"In the first game, we executed really well," Waagbo said. "In the second game, we had an iffy beginning. We tightened up offensively, though, when the game got close."

Against Denver (0-1), Duke (2-0) dominated from start to finish by racing out to a 4-0 lead and taking a 12-2 advantage into halftime. After the Pioneers scored two goals in the first three minutes of the second half to make the score 13-4, the Blue Devils iced the game by scoring four straight. Three of those goals belonged to Cryer, who enjoyed a extraordinary return to Denver-the junior graduated from Cherry Creek High School, located in the Denver area.

"We were just out there having fun," Cryer said.

Sunday's game was not nearly as easy. Duke needed a spectacular second-half run to hold off Stanford (1-2). The Blue Devils started the game similarly to Friday's contest by jumping on top 3-0. The Cardinal, however, kept the game close by scoring three of the game's next four goals. Duke notched the next two goals for a 6-3 edge. The Blue Devils were led by Cryer's three first-half scores.

The lead quickly disappeared in the second half, as the Cardinal tied the contest early in the period at six apiece. Duke finally put the game out of reach, amassing eight of the game's next 10 goals and tightening up on defense.

"Friday, we did a fantastic job with the weather conditions. It was 20 degrees, snowing, and there was a 45 miles per hour wind," head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "We did a nice job of taking Denver out of their game by being physical. Against Stanford, we struggled to make some defensive adjustments and allowed them to score some easy goals. We'll definitely address that next week."

The star in the Blue Devils' win at Stanford was Waagbo, who broke the assist mark just two minutes into the game. The previous record-holder was Tricia Martin, who had 75 assists in her career. Waagbo now has 78, including three Friday and three Sunday.

"I think that if I attract strong defenders, other girls can get open," Waagbo said.

Although Sunday's game was much more competitive than the match at Denver, the win against the Cardinal showcased Duke's ability to perform against one of the best goalkeeepers in the country. Junior goalie Laura Shane was selected as the youngest member of the U.S. Elite team last summer, and she was named to the IWLCA All-Regional First Team.

"To score 14 goals against one of the best goalies in the nation proved that our kids really grinded it out," Kimel said.

The wins this weekend mark the sixth straight year that the Blue Devils have started 2-0. Duke's performances, while not perfect, were still positive for a team looking to improve on last year's 18-3 record.

"This year we had a lot of experience out there," Cryer said. "We're off to a good start."


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