Duke has been out-scoring its opponents by an average of five goals per game, which when combined with strong upperclassmen leadership should work in the Blue Devils’ favor Saturday against Boston College—which lets up 12 goals per game.
No. 5 Duke (9-2, 2-2 in the ACC) will look to bounce back this weekend in Chestnut Hill, Mass. against the Eagles, after dropping a heartbreaking 12-11 contest in overtime to then-No. 3 North Carolina last Thursday.
“Big picture, I was really happy with different aspects of our game,” Blue Devil head coach Kerstin Kimel said. “North Carolina is a super athletic team, and I felt like we were really able to hang with them step-for-step.”
Junior midfielder Kerrin Maurer, who will be attacking on the offensive end from behind the goal for the first time in her career, leads Duke in assists this season, having notched 21 of the team’s 57. Maurer has also managed to score 25 goals this season, second only to senior attacker Makenzie Hommel, who has netted 31 thus far. Hommel, who put forth a strong four-goal performance against North Carolina, nets close to three goals per game, pacing a Blue Devil offense that averages 13.82 goals per contest.
Although Duke boasts a strong offense, its defense has been equally impressive, holding teams to an average of 8.64 goals per game. The defense is led by freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Duryea, who has anchored the team’s defense by holding opposing teams to a 41.3-percent shooting percentage.
Duryea, who has only played in the past seven games this season due to a preseason injury, has managed to keep her save percentage at 55.6 percent. This kind of play from the freshman and the Blue Devils’ defense has allowed them to play aggressively on offense.
After finishing last season ranked No. 20, Boston College (4-6, 2-2) has not found as much success as it would have hoped due to a tough schedule, which has seen them square off against six ranked teams in 10 games. Saturday’s contest will add to that total, as Duke enters the game ranked No. 5 in the nation and third in the ACC.
The Eagles opened up their season by defeating Holy Cross and Vanderbilt but have failed to register back-to-back wins since their first two games. Saturday’s contest will present them with the opportunity to post another winning streak. The Eagles defeated then-No. 9 Virginia at home last Saturday, avoiding their second three-game losing streak of the season after dropping their past two contests to No. 8 Syracuse and No. 2 North Carolina. This victory against the Cavaliers, an elite ACC team, has provided some much needed momentum for Boston College as they enter Saturday’s contest against the Blue Devils.
Offense has not been a strong point for the Eagles this season. Boston College has been outscored by its opponents 133-121. The Eagles have also not been playing close games in their six losses. Their average scoring margin in those losses has been close to seven goals.
Saturday’s matchup will feature the two past ACC Defensive Players of the Week in Duryea and Eagle sophomore goalkeeper Emily Mata. Mata held Virginia to nine goals, but only after she gave up 17 and 19 goals to the Orange and the Tar Heels, respectively.
“She had a great game last week against Virginia, and Virginia will tell you flat out they did not shoot well, so that was part of why they struggled and their goalie had a good game,” Kimel said.
Duke will be on the road for three of its next four games, including a trip to take on No. 3 Northwestern. The Blue Devils have been successful on the road so far, going 3-1 away from Durham. Kimel cites the structure provided away from school as part of the reason for their success.
“Historically our teams have traveled well because they do well with routine,” Kimel said.