COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland will not get back to the women's lacrosse final four this season, and Duke goalie Kim Imbesi had a lot to do with that.
Imbesi made seven of her 13 saves in the last 6:30 to hold off the Terrapins' best shooters and preserve a 9-7 victory for the unseeded Blue Devils in an NCAA Division I quarterfinal yesterday at Maryland's Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
The third-seeded Terps were seeking their first trip to the final four since 2002. Instead, the Blue Devils (13-8) are off to the semifinals for the fourth straight time. They will meet No. 2 seed Pennsylvania in Friday's semifinal at 8:30 p.m. at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.
When Imbesi wasn't being bombarded by the Terps' attack in those final minutes, she was watching the clock.
"I really wasn't thinking about anything except for the fact that the longer I could stop them from scoring, the more time would run down," Imbesi said. "I knew it was under five [minutes], and I knew they were a very good draw team. If they did score, they had the opportunity to get it right back. The longer I could keep it in play, the better for us."
The Blue Devils had an up-and-down season, going 3-7 against teams that made the NCAA tournament, but this was their second win over the Terrapins.
Maryland had hoped to avenge that 14-13 loss from early in the season, but the Terps were a little sloppy with the ball early on, played a lot of defense and struggled to find holes in the Blue Devils' defense. Still, they held possession most of the final seven minutes.
"We had the chances that we needed," said Terps midfielder Dana Dobbie, "but their goalie came up with some saves that I honestly haven't seen all year, some great toe saves and diving across the net, punching out with her stick. If those shots had gone in, it would have been a different game, but I have to give her a lot of credit because those were some amazing saves."
Imbesi's performance and a patient Duke offense that dominated possession until the final stretch proved the perfect counter for Maryland's quick-strike offense. The Terps' top attackers - Kelly Kasper (Century), Dobbie and Caitlyn McFadden (Notre Dame Prep) - spent most of the time on the defensive end.
"Maryland can get off to the races fast," said Duke coach Kerstin Kimel, "and I thought our defense in particular just did an unbelievable job and Kim did an unbelievable job. Our offense did a great job controlling tempo."
The Terps rallied from a 3-0 deficit with a four-goal run that gave them the lead on Lauren Cohen's spin-move goal with 15:14 to go in the first half. The teams were tied at 4, 5 and 6 before Lindsay Gilbride, Megan Del Monte (St. Paul's) and Christie Kaestner scored for a 9-6 Duke lead with 7:07 left in the game.
Duke had six turnovers after that, but Maryland could manage only McFadden's goal with 46 seconds left.
Duke 4 5 - 9
Maryland 4 3 - 7
Goals: D-Del Monte 2, Gilbride 2, Hamm, Johnson, Davis, Kachulis, Kaestner; M-McFadden 3, Kasper, Dobbie, Cohen, Pumphrey. Assists: D-Del Monte 2, Adam, Hamm; M-Kasper. Saves: D-Imbesi 13; M-Buote 5.