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Duke tops James Madison, Longwood

Coming off a narrow loss to Michigan State last Sunday, when No. 10 Duke dominated the game but failed to score and ultimately failed to win, the Blue Devils did just enough to be victorious this time around. Against No. 12 James Madison, the Blue Devils scraped through to win 1-0 against the Dukes in overtime, in the second game Duke played over the weekend.

The Blue Devils started strong, beating non-conference opponent Longwood 2-0 on Saturday, with both goals coming from sophomore Mary Nielsen. Sunday against the Dukes (2-2), Nielsen would also have the opportunity to be the hero, but her shot ricocheted off the crossbar late in overtime.

That play, however, led to a Blue Devil corner, and allowed junior Tara Jennings to score her first goal of the season and the only goal of the game, giving Duke (3-1) the win it craved.

“I think we’re glad to come out 2-0 [this weekend],” head coach Beth Bozman said. “We’re really thrilled to get out of here with a win.”

Duke outshot James Madison 14-10 and had five more corners than its opponent, a situation similar to that of last week when the Blue Devils also had trouble putting the ball into the cage.

“The bottom line is this week we found a way to win and last week we couldn’t,” Bozman said. “We are a work in progress. We know what we need to do.”

Bozman considered the James Madison game to be a solid test for the team’s ACC opener at Wake Forest next weekend. She believes the team now has confidence after being challenged over the past two weeks. Three out of the four opponents the Blue Devils have faced so far this season are ranked in the top 15.

In addition, Bozman credited the team’s attitude of not giving up, continuing to fight and attacking its opponents.

“We scratched and clawed at this game,” Bozman said. “The frustration created a sense of urgency, and we felt we could not let the game go. The frustration gave us the intensity we needed.”

The head coach also praised the players for seizing their opportunities on the field. She especially singled out the freshmen, two of which were playing as Duke started the crucial overtime period.

“We are a relatively young team,” Bozman said. “Today they stepped up, everyone stepped up…. So far the freshmen have assimilated perfectly, and we are a stronger team because of it.”

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