After coming back from a 2-1 second-half deficit against No. 13 Louisville to win 3-2 in double overtime Saturday, the Blue Devils could not continue their form Sunday and fell to No. 7 Michigan State 1-0.
No. 10 Duke (1-1) opened its season in East Lansing, Mich., with a promising effort against two ranked opponents. They even outmatched the Spartans (2-0) statistically, but were unable to turn their offensive dominance into a tally on the scoreboard.
“I don’t think it was a good weekend today. If you watched the game and you didn’t know the score you would think that we won the game,” head coach Beth Bozman said. “We can’t dominate the statistics more than we did…. We just couldn’t put the ball in the cage.”
Duke outshot Michigan State 16-5, with ten shots on target, and had six more penalty corners than the Spartans. The Blue Devils also had seven shots in the final 20 minutes of the game, while Michigan State had none.
Yet, the Spartans found the back of the goal about 15 minutes into the second period when Kristen Henn scored from the top of the circle off a penalty corner.
“One thing we didn’t do well was finish,” Bozman said. “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t capitalize.”
Bozman believes her relatively young team has room for improvement, although she acknowledged that aspects of the performance over the weekend were indeed positives for Duke. She highlighted the attitude of the team coming back against Louisville and the way the Blue Devils did not waver from the 1-0 deficit they faced against Michigan State, continuing to attack the Spartans until the end of the game.
“We did a lot of good things,” Bozman said. “But we definitely can do a lot of things better, considering the talent and fitness of this team.”
The Blue Devils will play two games on the road next week, where they will look to improve upon this first weekend and build on a strong preseason, before they take on their first ACC opponent at Wake Forest Sept. 11.
The ACC will be a big test for Duke as the team finished last in the conference last season.
“We just have to work hard and hope to improve next weekend,” Bozman said. “We’re still building and it’s still a work in progress, but I was pleased that our effort was consistent with Duke Field Hockey. We’re very excited about that.”
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