The top-seeded and top-ranked Maryland women's lacrosse team will face ACC rival Duke in the NCAA Championship quarterfinal round on Saturday at noon at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Maryland.
The Terps (20-0) dominated Stony Brook 11-3 last Saturday in the second round, while the Eighth-ranked Blue Devils (14-5) beat Princeton 10-9 in a double overtime thriller in its first round game and upset Navy 10-5 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Saturday's NCAA quarterfinal game up marks the 26th all-time meeting between Maryland and Duke. The Terps hold a 16-9 advantage in the series, including a 15-6 victory over the Blue Devils earlier this season on Feb. 24.
Tewaaraton Award finalist Alex Aust leads Maryland (an the ACC) with 112 points off 62 goals and 50 assists. The defending Tewaaraton winner senior midfielder Katie Schwarzmann, who is also a finalist for this year's Tewaaraton award, has 52 goals and 24 assists this season. Schwarzmann is arguably one of the most impressive players to have ever donned a Maryland jersey (that says a lot considering the Terps prestigious history)
Freshman All-American Taylor Cummings leads Maryland with 82 draw controls this season.
IWLCA National Defender of the Year and two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year Iliana Sanza is responsible for locking down the 8-meter for the Terps. Sanza is a workhorse on the field and has compiled 31 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers. Most of what Sanza does for Maryland won't show up on the stat sheet, she is a key part of what makes the Terps so successful.
Senior goalie Kasey Howard finally has her chance to shine after spending three years on the bench. With one of the best defenders in the country in front of her, Howard has proven she can make the saves her team needs her to make.
I thought her performance against UNC in the ACC Championship game was extremely impressive. In rainy conditions and a tight game Howard bailed the Maryland defense out several times. The key for Howard is to stay patient, that is when she is at her best. If she starts moving too much she can get caught out of position on the shot or guessing before the ball comes out.
Scouting the Blue Devils
Duke is proving they are noting going down without a fight. The Blue Devils won a nail biter against Princeton in the opening round and upset former Maryland coach Cindy Timchal's Navy team 10-5 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Duke's defense held Navy scoreless for over 40 minutes and is holding opponents to an average of just 8.7 goals per game on the season. Senior Makenzie Hommel leads the Blue Devils with 44 goals and sophomore Taylor Trimble is close behind with 36 scores on the season.
Sophomore Kerrin Maurer leads the team in points and with a balanced 35 goals and 31 assists making her tough to lock down because of her ability to both drive and dish.
Duke's defense has been especially impressive as of late and freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea has been a force between the pipes. Duryea leads the conference with an average of 8.60 saves per game, a .506 save percentage and an average of 2.20 ground balls per contest. Duryea had 10 saves against Navy and held he Mids scoreless for over 40 minutes in the Blue Devils last game so she will be heading into Saturday's contest with confidence.
Duryea will have to have the game of her life if the Blue Devils are going to stop the Terps.
Duke is definitely playing some of its best lacrosse of the year right now but Maryland has too much depth and too many options to be shut down. The Blue Devils will put up a fight but I predict the Terps will pull away in the second half for a comfortable victory.
WLAX Scouting Report: NCAA Quarterfinals
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