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Duquesne star Kidder leads lacrosse team into Atlantic 10 tourney

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 11:38 p.m.
Duquesne University
Duquesne sophomore Amanda Kidder ranks among the Atlantic 10 leaders in several categories.

Don't mess with Duquesne's Amanda Kidder, not when she has a lacrosse stick, and not ... in a board game?

“You don't want to play her in a game of checkers, and you certainly don't want to see her on a lacrosse field,” Dukes coach Michael Scerbo said. “She is a kid that hates to lose.”

Kidder, a do-it-all sophomore midfielder, leads Duquesne into this weekend's Atlantic 10 Tournament. The second-seeded Dukes (10-6) face third-seeded Temple (9-7) in a semifinal at 3:30 p.m. Friday at UMass. The championship is 1 p.m. Sunday, and the winner advances to the NCAA Tournament, someplace Duquesne hasn't reached since the program's inception in 1997.

“I don't even know how to describe it,” Kidder said of reaching the NCAAs. “It would be amazing. We've talk about that as our primary goal since I got here, and to achieve that would be awesome.”

Kidder's first two seasons rival those of any Duquesne player in school history. She won Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year and earned first-team all-conference honors in 2012, and she's been even better this season. Kidder leads the Dukes with 46 goals and 60 points, and her name is all over the A-10 leaderboard: third in goals per game (2.88), first in caused turnovers per game (1.94) and third in ground balls per game (2.31).

“I think she has a bigger impact across the field than any other player in the conference,” Scerbo said. “She can compete with the kids that are just supposed to score goals, and she can be better than all the top defenders in the conference. That really makes her a special kid.”

Despite her prolific offensive numbers, Kidder said her favorite part of the game is causing turnovers, which goes along with her aggressiveness. Her teammates notice that, too.

“She is the scrappiest girl I have ever met in my life,” junior Haley Marafioti said. “She is so quick, and her endurance is insane. She just won't stop until she gets what she wants.”

Marafioti and Kidder live about 10 minutes apart in the suburbs of Rochester, N.Y. That's where Kidder developed her competitive side. She has a brother who is three years younger, and they had two lacrosse nets and two soccer goals in the backyard. That meant lots of heated pickup games.

Kidder also was a standout soccer player in high school but said she focused more on lacrosse because she figured there would be more opportunities to play in college. Kidder caught the eye of Scerbo as a sophomore, and she visited the campus as a junior.

“I loved everything Duquesne had to offer,” said Kidder, an athletic training major.

Despite interest from schools such as Virginia Tech and UMass, she committed to a Duquesne program that had hovered around .500 for much of Scerbo's tenure.

“I knew when we recruited her that if we could get her on campus, she could change the face of our program because she's a winner,” Scerbo said.

The Dukes have gone 22-12 since her arrival, thanks in large part to Kidder and her hate-to-lose mentality. Marafioti, though, said Kidder's competitiveness belies a much softer persona. As long as you're not playing a board game against her.

“On the field, she has an attitude, and she doesn't get pushed around,” Marafioti said. “Off the field, she's this little sweetheart who doesn't hurt a fly. It's kind of cool to see the change.”

Jeff Vella is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jvella@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JeffVella_Trib.

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