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Blue Devil offense comes alive in weekend wins

The Blue Devils entered matches against No. 13 Boston College and Boston University this weekend disappointed in their recent offensive production.

Not so much anymore.

No. 9 Duke easily defeated Boston College 5-0 Saturday at Williams Field, giving the Blue Devils their first conference victory and marking the highest output since October 2007. Duke capped off the weekend with a 2-0 home win over Boston University Sunday.

In the first match, the Blue Devils (8-3, 1-2 in the ACC) capitalized on an early penalty corner in the third minute. Junior Brooke Patterson inbounded to junior Lauren Miller at the top corner, and Miller faked a shot and passed to freshman Megan Deakins. The pass deflected off Deakins' stick into the Boston College goal.

"[The first score] was a total team effort to get the ball down to the goal, and it opened the flood gates completely," Deakins said. "Once we had that first one in, it sparked our confidence to get the rest in from there."

Deakins tallied another score in the second half, adding her second goal of the match in the 56th minute. Duke also received two goals from sophomore Susan Ferger and a tally from senior Laura Suchoski.

Though averaging a respectable 14 shots per contest, Duke has struggled to put the ball in the back of the cage. Coming in to the match, the Blue Devils were ranked fifth of sixth in scoring in the ACC, managing less than two goals per game. Throughout the season, the team's offensive difficulties have been attributed to failing to capitalize on easy opportunities.

Saturday's game, in which the Blue Devils posted 26 shots and drew 17 penalty corners, represented significant improvement in the team's offensive attack.

"We have been working really hard on keeping a hungry attack all week in practice," head coach Beth Bozman said. "We stepped up today and think that this mentality really paid off for us."

Although Bozman was certainly excited about her team's tremendous offensive success, she expressed her belief that it is important to observe the game from both sides of the ball.

Sophomore goalie Samantha Nelson recorded her second shutout of the season and the Blue Devil defense held the Eagles to only eight shots on goal.

Duke's second contest of the weekend yielded similar success, as the team defeated Boston University, fresh off an upset of No. 8 Virginia.

After recording a team-high seven shots on goal Saturday, junior forward Amie Survilla led the team once again with five shots on goal against the Terriers. This time, two of her shots found the back of the cage, one in each half. Suchoski earned assists on both of Survilla's goals.

For the second consecutive game, Nelson recorded a shutout, bringing her season total to three.

And after a weekend in which Duke finally found its offensive groove, the Blue Devils were impressed with their ability to produce on both sides of the field in both halves in both matches.

"This [weekend] was huge for us," Ferger said. "Not only did we get our first conference win, but we have a huge confidence boost as we continue to play in the ACC."

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