For the field hockey team, it’s one big game after another.
The No. 4 Blue Devils (5-1) hope to keep their momentum going after last weekend’s victory over national champions Wake Forest as they head into Sunday’s matchup against No. 7 Old Dominion (3-1).
“[This stretch is] especially important because we had a good weekend last weekend and we need to show that we can carry that over,” senior captain Johanna Bischof said.
Duke also plays James Madison (1-5) Saturday. Both games begin at 1 p.m. at Williams Field.
Last year, the Blue Devils’ win over Old Dominion catapulted them to a new level of play as they won 12 of their next 13 games. Duke hopes that this year it can once again come away with a big win.
“I think it will be a good test for us,” head coach Beth Bozman said. “When you beat Old Dominion, you know you’ve done a good job.”
Duke has a great advantage in experience over the Monarchs, who only have two seniors on their team. Old Dominion’s Beth Anders, who is the winningest coach in NCAA history, is back from a one-year leave of absence. Anders took time off to help guide the U.S. National Team back to the Olympics.
Old Dominion historically has had extraordinary defensive teams, and this year seems to be no exception as the Monarchs are only giving up 2.5 goals per game. The Blue Devils, however, hope that their speed will be able to give the Monarchs trouble.
“We are a fast team so if we can use that to our advantage, we should have a good chance,” Bischof said.
Despite the magnitude of the Old Dominion game, the Blue Devils are not going to look past Saturday’s game, Bozman said. James Madison is coming off its first win of the season, topping Longwood Wednesday.
“I think they’ll go into James Madison playing them hard and still thinking about how they can improve,” Bozman said.
Duke’s lone loss came earlier this season against No. 1 Michigan State. Since then, the Blue Devils have dominated, outscoring opponents 37-3 during its current win streak. The team seems to be hitting its stride, especially offensively. Duke is the highest scoring team in the nation at 6.6 goals per game.
“I think things are starting to fall into place,” Bischof said. “In the beginning of the season we looked a little shaky, but I think we are starting to be a little bit more confident about what we are doing.”
Duke’s strong play has also made Bozman very optimistic, despite the team’s early setbacks.
“Michigan State was a big letdown for us, but I think we’re heading in the right direction,” Bozman said.
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