No. 2 Northwestern Tops Duke to Reach 8th Straight Final Four

Duke's Taylor Trimble pulled one back for the Blue Devils one minute later, scoring what was Duke's only goal in a span of more than 24 minutes covering each side of halftime. But sophomore Alyssa Leonard, who made her mark with eight draw controls for the second straight outing, got in on the scoring off the free position to keep NU's lead at three.

With Northwestern's defense continuing to stifle the Blue Devils' offense, the difference on the scoreboard grew to five after unassisted goals by both Fitzgerald and Lacey Vigmostad. Smith then capped the decisive 9-1 run when she used her speed and stick-handling to elude several Duke defenders around the fan and find an opening past Mackler for her third of the day and the 252nd of her career.

An 8-meter goal by Duke's Maddy Morrissey ended Northwestern's 9-1 run and a score by Kerrin Maurer with 6:10 remaining gave life to the Blue Devils, but NU continued to keep possession down the stretch and eventually iced the game off a fast-break goal by junior midfielder Gabriella Flibotte.

Northwestern turned what was a 6-5 deficit on draw controls at halftime into a 12-9 margin in its favor by the end of the game, and also outshot the Blue Devils for the evening, 19-18. Thornton was her usual active self at both ends of the field for the Wildcats, grabbing four ground balls, causing three turnovers and winning two draws to go with her one goal.

Northwestern posted an 11-1 mark in its 12 games at Lakeside Field in 2012 and now owns a record of 82-2 on its home turf since 2005. Nearly 1,200 fans turned out in support of the 'Cats Saturday night, raising NU's average home attendance to 941 fans per game in 2012.

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EVANSTON, Ill. - The seventh-seeded Duke women's lacrosse team twice built a two-goal lead to start the game, but the Blue Devils could not hold off No. 2 seed Northwestern, falling 12-7 in the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday evening at Lakeside Field.

After Duke scored four goals early in the first half, Northwestern put together a 10-3 run to close the contest as the Blue Devils failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunities.

Duke received two goals each from sophomore Maddy Morrissey and freshman Taylor Trimble, who bolstered her team-leading total to 28 for the season. Junior Makenzie Hommel and senior Amanda Jones also added goals for the Blue Devils. Erin Fitzgerald paced the Northwestern offensive with four goals, followed by Shannon Smith with three.

"I think obviously this is a tough loss for us," said head coach Kerstin Kimel. "I am really proud of my team this year. We had a lot of ups and downs. We've had a lot of injuries. I thought we gave a hell of an effort tonight. I thought we did a lot of good things. We had a lot of great opportunities, unfortunately didn't finish on some of those, but in terms of how our season has gone, I told our team tonight that I am just really, really proud of them. They never got down over the course of the season, they always kept their heads up, they worked so hard, and they prepared well for every game. It's just always tough to end your season with a loss in the tournament, especially when you're a program that expects to be going to the Final Four."

The Blue Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead early thanks to goals from Jones and Hommel. However the Wildcats knotted the score at two-all six minutes later. Duke continued its strong start, again building a two-goal lead. Morrissey netted a free position goal at the 14-minute mark, followed by a Trimble tally 35 seconds later.

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