April 16, 2014

Maurer Lifts Duke Over UNC In Overtime

by Maddie Salamone | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

In-Game Blog Replay


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The ACC showdown that took place on a chilly Wednesday night in Chapel Hill proves why the Duke-UNC rivalry is one of the most talked about in all of college sports. No. 14 Duke headed fifteen minutes down the road to take on No. 2 UNC, but once they took the field, records didn't matter.

In a game that lived up to the hype, Duke emerged victorious in a major 7-6 upset in overtime to finish out their regular season play thanks to a crucial goal from Kerrin Maurer in extra time.

A mere five months after Duke football defeated UNC to advance to the ACC Championship game, Kenan Stadium favored Duke once again. Due to the ACC Track and Field Championships, the game was moved from Fetzer Field to this neutral site. Duke played the best lacrosse they have all season, causing the Tar Heels' momentum to appear off-kilter from start to finish. 

Duke emerged with a lot of heart and hustle all over the field against a UNC team that looked uncharacteristically sloppy on offense with a constant struggle to maintain possession.

Coming out of the locker room after the game, UNC identified the slower pace of the Duke offense to be the overruling factor that caused the loss.

"They were really holding possession, which always gets us a little bit anxious, just because we really like to play lacrosse and get the ball and go," said UNC senior Abbey Friend. "When they slowed the tempo down, it's a little more boring. We like to play a little more fun than that."

Coach Jenny Levy expressed similar sentiments about the change in momentum, which caught her team offguard in terms of strategy.

"In the women's lacrosse game, stalling is part of it," Levy explained. "It's not great for the fans, but it's part of a strategy to beat other teams. We don't use it because we believe every team that we play we can beat."

"But it does work, obviously, and we have to play better," continued Levy. "We can't worry that a team is stalling. We have to then take care of the smaller details, like picking up ground balls and not turning the ball over. Every possession for us counts."

Despite winning all three draws taken in overtime, the Tar Heels could not get their offense to score. UNC possessed the ball for the entire first half of overtime, but failed to get a single shot off partly due to Duke's tight defense.

In the second half of overtime, UNC immediately turned the ball over and gave Duke a chance to pull away. Junior Kerrin Maurer was then able to score on a well-defended crease roll with 26.5 seconds to go. Although they won the subsequent draw, the Tar Heels were unable to finish on top.

Typically, the team who takes the most shots scores the most goals. This game was no exception. Duke outshot UNC 23-12, while also outhustling UNC on ground balls 21-14 and dominating on the draw in regulation.

At the end of the day, it came down to one goal and Maurer summed it up best.

"We wanted it. We wanted it bad," Maurer described. "[Coach] Kerstin [Kimel] told us before the game that it was going to be the one that had the most heart, and we had it. It feels great."

Sometimes, statistics and records don't determine the winner. When teams are faced with a true rivalry, it will be a head-to-head battle.  

"The team on paper that's supposed to win doesn't always win," Kimmel expressed with a respect for her opponent. "All that goes out the window when it's Duke-Carolina, and that's what makes it special."

"Our girls understand that it's a privilege to be part of such an awesome rivalry. Because of all the special things that come along with it, you can get great finishes like this."

This game ended the regular season for the Blue Devils, and with this win, their record now sits at 9-6 (3-4 ACC). However, with yet another loss, UNC (12-3 Overall, 5-2 ACC) has dropped out of the running for the ACC Champion bid, which now belongs to Syracuse or Maryland. 

The Tar Heels will be back in action one more time on Saturday at 1 p.m. with home field advantage as they take on the Towson Tigers.

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