Last-second goal lifts Duke

There was no better time than Saturday for junior Jess Adam-even if there were only three seconds left.

Duke appeared destined for overtime when freshman Sarah Bullard's free-position shot sailed just past the Terrapin goal with nine ticks left and the score tied at 13. But then Adam scooped up the ball, curled around the cage and launched a powerful shot.

Before the ball even hit the back of the net, the Blue Devil bench broke out in hysterics.

"Our coaches always say that if there's under 10 seconds left, the person who has the ball just take it and clear out," Adam said. "I was like, 'OK Jess, come on. This is your chance. Why not a better time than now?' And you just rely on your adrenaline and finish it."

Playing in its closest game of the season, No. 3 Duke narrowly defeated fifth-ranked Maryland 14-13 Saturday afternoon in Koskinen Stadium. For the second straight game between the teams, the margin of victory was one goal. Last year, the Blue Devils lost to the Terrapins 19-18.

After Maryland sprinted out to an early 6-3 lead, the Blue Devils (5-0, 1-0 in the ACC) answered back with three straight strikes. For the rest of the half, the teams would trade goals, with the Terrapins taking a 9-8 lead into halftime. Although both squads are known for their high-scoring offenses, Maryland (2-1, 0-1) may have had the edge over a Duke squad playing without last season's leading scorer, Caroline Cryer.

Instead, junior Carolyn Davis took over for the Blue Devils with an impressive six-goal, one-assist performance. Davis' scoring outburst ties her for third all-time in goals scored by a Duke player in a single game. Her points total is sixth best all-time.

"The feeling out there was calm, but very confident at the same time," Davis said. "This team has something special where we can execute, know what we're doing and be confident in ourselves that we're going to win. There wasn't a doubt in our minds that we could win today."

Davis' biggest goal may have been the shot that tied the Terrapins with 1:30 to go. As Maryland attempted to stall any Duke comeback, the Blue Devils regained possession after forcing a Terrapin turnover. As Adam found Davis open at the top of the fan, the attacker faked out her defender and nailed the shot high in the goal to even the score at 13.

Duke also had help on the offensive side from senior Allie Johnson and junior Megan Del Monte, who finished with two goals apiece. The Blue Devils' strategy going into the match was to remain patient on offense rather than forcing any passes or shots. Turnovers were a huge factor, as Duke had a 16-9 advantage over Maryland.

"A big theme on offense and defense is patience," head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "In other words, not going for checks, don't initiate contact, stay with them and play patient defense."

Despite the high final score, the Blue Devils' defense proved to be the most crucial factor in the contest. After Maryland standout Kelly Kasper was practically unstoppable in the first half with three goals, Duke clamped down defensively and shut her out for the remainder of the game.

"If you would ask me if holding a team to 13 goals would be good, I would say no," Kimel said. "But with holding them to 13 goals, I was pretty happy."

After allowing nine goals in the first half with only one save, goalkeeper Kim Imbesi recorded four saves in the second. The Terrapins were limited to only 10 shots over the final 20 minutes.

With their first ACC win under their belts, the Blue Devils next play Princeton March 8.


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