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Blue Devils look to ride momentum into Ohio

Senior Lauren Miller, whom head coach Beth Bozman called “the backbone and leader of [the] team,” leads Duke against Ohio and Ohio State on the road this weekend.
Senior Lauren Miller, whom head coach Beth Bozman called “the backbone and leader of [the] team,” leads Duke against Ohio and Ohio State on the road this weekend.

Coming off dominant performances last weekend in games against William & Mary and No. 20 Old Dominion, Duke seems prepared to tally two more wins in its away trip to the state of Ohio this weekend. There, No. 13 Duke will face stiff competition from Ohio (7-7) and No. 15 Ohio State (11-4), as both teams are in contention for their respective MAC and Big Ten conference titles.   

“Every game is crucial now. End-of-season performance is one of the criterions for the NCAA tournament,” head coach Beth Bozman said. “This weekend is a huge opportunity for us.”

Despite the momentum from last weekend’s victories and competitive ACC losses to No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 North Carolina, Duke (8-7) will be challenged, especially by Ohio State’s attack. Led by freshman sensation Berta Queralt and sophomore Maria Briones, both of whom are from Spain, Ohio State averages 3.13 goals per game, which is nearly a goal more than Duke’s average 2.27 goals allowed.

The Blue Devils counter with their strong defensive unit led by senior All-American captain Lauren Miller, the “backbone and leader of [the] team,” according to Bozman. With her skill and leadership, Duke hopes to minimize the offensive potential of both Ohio State and Ohio.

While the defense will rely on Miller, the offense depends on fellow senior Amie Survilla, whose 20 goals rank her fourth in the country.

Notably, both Miller and Survilla, the lone seniors on the team, have recently been elected to the NFHCA Division I Senior All-Star team, an honor celebrated in an exhibition game at Wake Forest Nov. 21.  The game is scheduled between the NCAA semifinal (Nov. 20) and championship game (Nov. 22).

Despite the amazing accomplishments of its two senior leaders, the team remains focused on finishing the season strong.  

Duke has the opportunity to do this despite its inconsistent early-season play, as the team now seems poised to make a legitimate run in the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Bozman and Miller said they think the team is peaking at the right time.

 “We are confident and pleased, but not complacent and satisfied,” Miller said.  

After the games against Ohio and Ohio State, Duke has its regular season finale Oct. 31 at Virginia as its last tuneup for postseason play.

“We are just excited to see how we measure up in the ACC tournament,” Miller said. “We just want to keep proving to ourselves how good a team we are.”

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