No. 9 Duke Reaches NCAA Quarterfinals with Win over Irish

Morrissey gave Duke some breathing room with a goal at 4:50 and, following a lengthy stall, the Blue Devils got an insurance goal from Smith with 27 seconds to play. Unfazed, as usual, Custis controlled the ensuing draw and Sexton tallied on a free position with 15 seconds to play, making it a 10-8 game, but Duke would get the final draw and hang on for the win.

Reflecting the tight nature of the game, shots were 21-20 for Notre Dame, ground balls went 22-18 for Duke, draw controls were 12-8 for Notre Dame and the Blue Devils committed more turnovers, 18-16. Liz O'Sullivan made five saves in the Notre Dame net, four of them in the second half.

The Irish should return strong in 2015. Of the team's 12 most frequent starters in 2014, 11 of them are set to return. Players who accounted for 295 of the team's 334 points scored (88-percent) will be wearing the Irish uniform in 2015 as well.

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. Duke senior Maddy Morrissey turned in a career-best six-point performance and junior Kerrin Maurer added a hat trick as the ninth-ranked Blue Devils kept their NCAA Tournament run alive with a 10-8 victory over 14th-ranked Notre Dame Sunday, May 11 at Arlotta Stadium.

Duke (11-7) advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the 10th consecutive year, and will meet top-seeded Maryland next weekend in College Park, Md.

Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea totaled 11 saves in the net for the Blue Devils to anchor a strong defensive effort that also included 14 caused turnovers.

"Our defense is playing really strong right now," said Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel. "I'm so proud of how well they operated as a unit ... We knew the tougher team was going to prevail, and that was us today. I'm just really proud of our team."

The scoring started early in South Bend as the eighth-seeded Irish took the opening draw and capitalized on a goal by Rachel Sexton. Morrissey responded for Duke just 23 seconds later, finishing on a pass from junior Katie Trees. Aggressive defensive play on both ends resulted in a number of turnovers over the remainder of the period. Senior Taylor Virden led the charge for the Blue Devils, accounting for three caused turnovers in the first 30 minutes, while Duryea logged five first-half stops in the net.

Notre Dame took back the lead at the 21:19 mark on a tally by Brie Custis but junior attacker Brigid Smith knotted the score again on an assist from Maurer. Maurer and Morrissey also registered goals to spark a 5-0 run by Duke that would extend into the second half.

"We started off a little slow, and I thought that we did a good job of collecting ourselves on a timeout and making an adjustment in our clearing," Kimel said. "We were having, in my opinion, too many turnovers between the 30s. Our offense just needed to settle in and get used to the defensive pressure. Once they did, we were a lot more comfortable."

Leading 4-2 at the break, the Blue Devils got a pair of goals from Maurer to start the period. Maurer, who was assisted by Morrissey and junior Chelsea Landon, collected her 10th hat trick of the season and moved into a tie for eighth all-time at Duke in career points with 203.

Caitlin Gargan ended the scoring drought for the Irish at 21:44, cutting it to 6-3. The teams traded tallies over the next couple of possessions before Sexton and Lindsay Powell combined for three unanswered markers to pull Notre Dame within one at 8-7.

Morrissey netted her career-best fourth goal of the day with 4:50 remaining and assisted Smith on another score in the final minute. Sexton converted from the eight-meter with 15 seconds left on the clock, but Duke would go on to win by two.

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