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Duke women's lacrosse takes on Boston College in top-5 ACC showdown

Junior goalie Kelsey Duryea will look to stymie No. 3 Boston College's high-powered offense in Saturday's ACC showdown.
Junior goalie Kelsey Duryea will look to stymie No. 3 Boston College's high-powered offense in Saturday's ACC showdown.

Winning the draw and handling adversity on the road will be crucial for the Blue Devils in their most important ACC tilt to date.

No. 5 Duke heads north Saturday to take on No. 3 Boston College at 1 p.m. at the Newton Lacrosse Field in Newton, Mass., in its second-to-last ACC game of the regular season. For the Blue Devils, the game may be the most important of their season, as both teams boast an 11-1 record and are currently tied atop the conference standings.

Coming off a tight 10-9 victory against Syracuse and a decisive win against Davidson, the Blue Devils seek their 12th win of the season and will look to slow down a top-10 scoring offense nationally by continuing momentum on the defensive end.

“I think defensively, we’re going to keep building off what we’ve been doing our last few games,” junior goalie Kelsey Duryea said. "That’s kind of limiting our fouls and our own mistakes and having solid one-on-one defense and also a solid team defense, so really working to be there for that slide and playing as a unit.”

In addition to a stable defense, a key factor in the Blue Devils’ recent success has been gaining possessions off the draw. In the victory against Davidson, senior attack Kerrin Maurer notched a career-high nine draws, creating a multitude of scoring opportunities that Duke (11-1, 4-1 in the ACC) was able to capitalize on.

Maurer is a crucial member of the Blue Devil offense, having contributed 26 goals and 22 assists on the season. With six out of eight seniors starting, the team thrives on strong leadership from veterans, in addition to contributions from the team’s newer members—such as freshman Kyra Harney, who has recorded 22 goals in her first season in a Duke uniform.

“Coming off of our game yesterday against Davidson, we kind of used that as a way to see what we need to work on offense,” Maurer said. “We know that BC has a very deliberate style of play on offense and on the draw they’re very effective so we know that possessions are going to be important that when we do have the ball, we need to be effective and convert on them.”

Controlling possessions will be one of the main ways the Blue Devils look to slow down a potent Eagle attack that ranks 10th nationally in goals per game at 14.4 per contest. On the other end of the field, Boston College (11-1, 4-1) will likely employ similar tactics to slow down Duke's 15th-ranked scoring offense nationally, meaning that Saturday's game has a chance to turn into a shootout that could come down to creating extra possessions.

“BC is very good on the draw. We just have to be ready to really battle until we win possession," Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "At the end of the day it’s really going to come down to who’s better fundamentally—winning the ball in those 1-v-1 situations on the ground and in the air and I think if we can prevail, that obviously leads us to having possession and having the ball more than them.”

Junior midfielder Caroline Margolis and senior attacker Covie Stanwick command the Eagle offense, combining for eight points per game between them, with 60 goals and 36 assists together on the season.

Duke has had trouble with Boston College in the past, falling to the Eagles in the teams' previous two encounters, including a 13-11 home loss last season in which Stanwick had five goals. But Saturday’s contest presents a new opportunity for the Blue Devils to avenge their last two losses to Boston College and seize control of the ACC standings late in the season.


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