While most students were relaxing on a beach somewhere, Duke spent its Spring Break getting back to its winning ways.
After falling at No. 4 Maryland March 3, the Blue Devils have reeled off three straight wins over ranked opponents. Fifth-ranked Duke (7-1, 0-1 in the ACC) hopes to keep the momentum going when it clashes with Virginia Tech (4-5, 0-2) in Koskinen Stadium tonight at 7 p.m.
"After the Maryland game, we had time to focus on us," head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "It was a tough week of practice, and we were able to improve. Over Spring Break, we focused and prepared well for our opponents."
The Blue Devils' three-game winning streak was highlighted by a barrage of scoring-Duke averaged 14 goals over the three contests and attempted at least 35 shots in each game.
"It's a very experienced group that should be able to score a lot of goals," Kimel said. "We've been able to get back to the things we're doing naturally well on offense like transition. We're playing fast."
The Blue Devils were led on offense by attacker Caroline Cryer. The junior now has 28 goals through eight games for Duke-easily on pace to surpass the 30 goals she scored last year.
Senior Kristen Waagbo was also a major part of the offensive surge, as the attacker moved into third place on Duke's all-time points scored list and fifth on the school's all-time goals-scored list.
The Blue Devils also benefited from the return of midfielder Rachel Sanford to the starting lineup after the senior suffered an ankle injury against the Terrapins.
"Our offense is producing a lot of shots," Waagbo said. "We're moving very well together."
Despite the recent offensive success in wins over No. 9 Georgetown, No. 10 Princeton and No. 18 Vanderbilt, the Blue Devils are not taking the Hokies lightly.
"There's still a lot of things that we want to work on and improve," Waagbo said.
Tonight's game is especially important for Duke to improve its ranking in the ACC.
The Blue Devils are currently winless in the conference and have only four ACC games remaining, including a showdown with third-ranked Virginia March 31.
"Our girls appreciate each game as a huge opportunity," Kimel said. "We need to continue to strive to get better."
With the offense clicking, Duke understands it can climb right back into the ACC race.
"We've got a chance to get to .500 in the conference," Cryer said. "It's a Friday night game under the lights and hopefully some fans will get out there. I'm psyched."
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