Coming off of a humbling loss to No. 1 Maryland, No. 6 Duke will look to rebound against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Blue Devils will host Vanderbilt at Koskinen Stadium at 2 p.m Saturday.
Duke (4-1) aims to get back to the play it started the season with after opening the season with four consecutive wins. Saturday’s match should provide an opportunity for Duke to work on the flaws the Terrapins exposed.
Vanderbilt has proven that it will provide a good test for the Blue Devils, even if it does not provide the caliber of competition that Maryland did. The Commodores will test a Duke offense that was held to six goals in its last contest, the first time the Blue Devils scored less than 15 goals in a game all season.
Vanderbilt (1-4) enters the match on a three-game losing streak, with their last—and only—victory coming against a 0-3 Kennesaw State team that has only managed to score nine goals this season.
The Commodores record can be misleading, as they have had a rigorous early-season schedule, facing No. 15 Boston College and No. 4 Northwestern in its past two games.
The main struggles for the Commodores have come on offense, as they are only averaging 10.8 goals per game, with a season-high of 22 coming against Kennesaw State.
But where Vanderbilt may lack offensive firepower, the Commodores have been strong defensively, holding its opponents to 11.2 goals per game. Its losses against Boston College and Northwestern saw the Commodores hold them to 13 and 15 goals, respectively.
The difference in the Duke and Vanderbilt, from an offensive standpoint, stems from the fact that Vanderbilt’s offense depends solely on the production of senior attacker Carly Linthicum, who has already scored 20 goals this season. She eclipsed her 2012 season total of 17 goals in their last game against Northwestern, in which she notched a hat trick.
No other player on the team has scored more than seven goals and with Linthicum making up 37 percent of their scoring, opposing teams do not feel nervous about focusing the majority of their defensive pressure to Linthicum.
Senior attacker Makenzie Hommel is Duke’s highest scorer with 13 goals this season. But unlike the Commodores, the Blue Devils have three other players in double digits—sophomore attackers Brigid Smith and Kerrin Maurer have scored 12 and 11 goals, respectively, in addition to sophomore midfielder Taylor Trimible’s 10.
In their contest against Maryland, Maurer scored three goals to lead the Blue Devils, and tie Maryland attacker Brooke Griffin for a game-high. This was a change in pace for Duke, which has leaned on Hommel to lead them on offense for the majority of the season.
Saturday’s match will be Duke’s last home match before the Blue Devils make trips during spring break to No. 10 Georgetown and Jacksonville. Following Saturday, six of their final nine games will be away from Koskinen Stadium, forcing the young Blue Devils squad to adjust to life on the road.