May 16, 2010

Courtesy of Duke University

DURHAM, N.C. - Trailing by two with less than eight minutes to play, the Duke women's lacrosse team rallied for three unanswered goals, including Lindsay Gilbride's gamewinner with a second remaining, to edge Vanderbilt, 16-15, Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium in the first round NCAA Tournament match.

A back-and-forth contest throughout, the Blue Devils tied the game at 15-all on a Sarah Bullard score from the right side with three minutes to play. As the clock ticked under a minute, goalkeeper Kaitlin Gaiss came up with a huge save to give possession back to the Blue Devils. After calling a timeout with 19 seconds left, Duke capitalized on the opportunity to put the game away as Bullard found a cutting Gilbride whose shot hit the back of the net with one second remaining on the clock.

"We ran the play for Lindsay Gilbride, who was having a really good day" head coach Kerstin Kimel said. "It was a play we have in our repertoire that we use. It wasn't executed perfectly, but it was executed enough to get the look we wanted."

Duke improves to 14-5 with the win as Vanderbilt ends its season with a 12-6 record.

Gilbride led all scorers with six points on a season-high five goals and an assist. Bullard tallied three goals and an assist, Kat Thomas netted three goals and Christie Kaestner totaled five points (2G, 3A) to pace the Blue Devil attack.

Vanderbilt received four goals apiece from Ally Carey and Alex Priddy, while Carter Foote added three.

The Commodores jumped out to an early one-goal lead after Carey got this started less than two minutes in. The two teams proceeded to trade goals until Priddy knotted the score at four midway through the first half.

Virginia Crotty converted a free position shot two minutes later to spark a 4-0 Duke run, capped by an unassisted Kim Wenger goal with 6:26 to go in the half. Up 8-4, the Devils saw their largest lead of the game slip away as Vanderbilt cut the lead to 8-6 in the final 1:21 of the first frame.

The Commodores used the momentum shift to their favor to start the second half, turning a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead in the first four minutes of the second period.

But Duke would respond minutes later as Kaestner found Thomas and Gilbride for back-to-back scores, tying the game at 10. Kaestner then gave Duke the lead with 20:36 to play on an assist from Danielle Kachulis, who set a career-high with two helpers in the match, and Gilbride extended the Duke advantage to two on an assist from Amanda Jones.

However, Vanderbilt came storming back with a 5-1 run to retake the lead 15-13 with 7:52 to play before Duke ended the threat with three unanswered to close out the contest.

Sunday's game was much different from the two teams' first meeting on February 14 in Nashville, a game the Devils won decisively, 19-10. The Blue Devils outshot the Commodores, 34-26, while also controlling the draw 19-13, but Vanderbilt led in ground balls, 18-16, and turnovers, 13-14, for today's game.

"I really have to credit my staff and our senior class for really keeping the team down the straight and narrow," Kimel said. "This whole season, we've really been an unbelievable team; it's just a testament to how hard they worked."

Duke advances to the second round of the 2010 NCAA Championships and will face second-seeded Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., on Saturday, May 22 at 2 p.m. The Blue Devils faced the Wildcats earlier this season in Durham, falling 19-14 to then-No. 1 Northwestern.