Though both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams fell short in their bids for ACC championships this season, they’ll get another opportunity to earn trophies, this time on the national stage.
The NCAA Tournament selection shows for both men and women took place Sunday, and Duke’s name was called in each one.
After being defeated by North Carolina in the ACC semifinals, the women’s team lost its final game of the season to Penn. The Blue Devils won’t have to wait long for revenge, though, as the Quakers will be their first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament. Duke earned a No. 5 seed, and will get to take on Penn at home in Durham after falling to them on the road.
Duke’s high-powered offense ranks seventh in the nation in scoring, led by redshirt junior Emma Hamm and senior Christie Kaestner, whose 2.29 assists per game rank fourth in the country. They’ll once again face Penn’s stingy defense, though; only four teams in the country allowed fewer goals per game than the Quakers.
Should the Blue Devils exact revenge for their loss in the regular season finale, they’ll take on the winner of the first-round matchup between Stanford and fourth-seeded Florida.
The Duke men also earned a fifth seed, which shouldn’t discourage them since they were a No. 5 seed last year as well, and proceeded to win the national championship. They’ll take on Delaware in the first round, who upset UMass in the CAA championship game to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Hens possess an athletic squad that likes to play up-tempo, but their attackers have had problems scoring at times, putting much of the scoring weight on their midfield. Delaware has a history of giving ACC teams all they can handle in the first round of the NCAA Tournament: In 2007, they upset then-third-ranked Virginia 14-8 in the first round, and last season, they nearly defeated North Carolina, losing by just one goal.
The Blue Devils bring plenty of firepower to bear against the Blue Hens behind Zach Howell, whose 3.12 points per game place him third in the ACC and 27th in the country. They score the fourth-most goals per game in the nation, but do struggle at times on defense, ranking just 29th in goals allowed per game.
The contest will take place May 14 in Durham, and the winner will take on Penn or No. 4 seed Notre Dame in the second round.