COLLEGE PARK, MD - Senior Tewaaraton finalist Alex Aust led top-seeded Maryland to a 14-9 victory over Duke in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Saturday.
With the win, the Terps (21-0) punched their ticket to a fifth-straight national semifinal and will face Syracuse Friday at Villanova Stadium. Aust recorded five goals and added two assists. The Sterling, Va., native also moved into third all-time in points (119) in single season history at Maryland.
After being stymied in the beginning of the Stony Brook match in the second round, the Terps wasted no time getting their attack rolling against the Blue Devils, notching the first two tallies of the game in the first seven minutes of play. Brooke Griffin and Halle Majorana put Maryland up with a pair of unassisted scores before Duke landed on the scoreboard with a goal at 20:25.
A pair of goals at 19:13 and 14:52 by Aust and fellow attacker Kristen Lamon extended the Terrapin lead to 4-1 before the two teams exchanged goals twice for a 6-3 score with five minutes remaining. The Terps would outscore Duke 2-1 down the stretch in the first half to carry a solid 8-4 cushion into the break.
Maryland preserved that momentum early in the second half, adding on to its four-goal lead with three early tallies in the stanza. Aust played a hand in all three, scoring goals at 26:30 and 22:44 and assisting on a Katie Schwarzmann score in-between.
Duke posted its first goal of the period with a Maddy Morissey score at 21:55 but Maryland compiled a devastating 3-0 run in-and-around the 17-minute mark - courtesy of goals from Schwarzmann, Griffin and Beth Glaros - to mount a 14-5 advantage with 15 minutes to play.
Duke turned up the heat with four goals in the final seven minutes of play, but Maryland would hold on for the 14-9 win, the last for eight Terrapin seniors at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.
Maryland benefited from a balanced attack with seven goal-scorers on the day. Griffin added three goals and two assists and Schwarzmann tallied a pair of scores to aid the attack.
Defensively, senior Kasey Howard recorded seven saves in the cage. Aust, Schwarzmann and Cummings combined for 10 ground balls. Cummings and fellow freshman Alice Mercer led the way with two caused turnovers each.
"Congratulations to Duke. It was a fun game, a hard-fought game and I don't think you'd expect anything less when you get a Maryland-Duke rivalry," head coach Cathy Reese said. "For us, we are thrilled to be in the position we are in. We're excited and looking forward to being one of the final four teams standing and heading to the final four next week."
Maryland - which is headed to its nation-leading 21st final four - will play fourth-seeded Syracuse next Friday in the national semifinals at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pa.