Duke could not come away with a victory in the ACC championship game last Sunday, but their defeat at the hands of the No. 1 team in the nation did not prevent them from continuing their season. The Blue Devils earned an at-large bid to the 16-team NCAA tournament field, and will take on No. 10 Stanford in Norfolk, Va. in the first round of postseason play Saturday at 2 p.m.
Head coach Pam Bustin leads the program to the 11th postseason appearance in its history, and its first since 2008. Duke (13-7) will take on a Cardinal team that also lost in its conference championship game. The teams are evenly matched in their success against top opponents as well—the Blue Devils racked up seven wins over top-20 opponents, while Stanford defeated six teams in the top 20. The Cardinal (17-3) have appeared in four of the last five NCAA tournaments.
The contest will be a battle of two talented goalkeepers—Duke senior Samantha Nelson was one of four all-ACC selections after allowing 1.27 goals per game, and Stanford senior Ale Moss has allowed just 1.45 per contest. The Cardinal are led on offense by junior Becky Dru’s 17 goals and seven assists. Senior Stephanie Burke and sophomore Hope Burke have both breached double-digits in assists while combining for 12 goals on the season.
The winner of the matchup will move on to the second round to take on the winner of No. 15 Ohio State and No. 2 Old Dominion, which is hosting the first weekend of the tournament. Duke has not faced Ohio State, but played Old Dominion twice, losing to the Monarchs in double overtime on the road but beating them in Durham.
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