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Duke holds off OSU, ODU

Despite sporting an appearance of comfort and control, No. 9 Duke found itself tangled in two tight contests this weekend at Williams Field.

And still, the Blue Devils managed to win both, topping Ohio State 3-2 Saturday and Old Dominion 1-0 Sunday.

After the close wins, though, Duke found areas in which it has to improve.

"Even though our team is coming together, everyone needs to step it up to the next level," said senior captain Marian Dickinson, who scored two goals Saturday.

The Buckeyes (6-3) took an early lead, scoring the first goal in the game's third minute, but the Blue Devils (6-2) were not fazed.

They quickly regained control and retaliated when sophomore Susan Ferger tallied a score 81 seconds later. The short turnaround seemed to solidify Duke: its offense ran rampant, and the defenders rarely retreated behind midfield and pushed Ohio State into earning nine penalty corners.

The Buckeyes seemed content to let the Blue Devils loiter at their striking circle, as Duke posted 17 shots on net, three of which manifested themselves onto the scoreboard.

The shot-to-goal ratio left head coach Beth Bozman "not happy at all."

"With the number of opportunities we had, we would have liked to have capitalized on more of them today," Bozman said. "You have to be able to score when you have as many opportunities as we had."

But with five freshman starters, time may be a necessity to bring opportunities to implementation. And with at least 11 games left in the season, the team should have ample opportunity to maximize its potential.

The fact that most of the Blue Devils were familiar with the Buckeyes might have added an unexpected aspect to the game plan. Both Ferger and junior captain Brooke Patterson squared off against high school teammates Saturday-field hockey is a "very small world," Ferger said.

And while the adaptation from friend and teammate to opponent could have become awkward, Duke was glad it didn't result in something even more foreign: a loss.

"We see each other before and after the game, but on the field they're just the opponents," Ferger said.

And Saturday, the Blue Devils were on the winning end of the friendship.

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