The Blue Devils’ postseason chances took a major hit on Saturday as they lost to No. 11 Penn State 2-1.
Duke (8-9) could not overcome its early 2-0 deficit Saturday against the Nittany Lions. With only one game left—and against No. 3 Virginia, no less—the Blue Devils must reach a .500 record to be considered for postseason play.
Penn State outshot the No. 17 Blue Devils 9-6 on the afternoon, though Duke took eight penalty corners to the Nittany Lions’ three.
The Blue Devils were put in a hole just eight minutes into the game on a goal from Penn State’s Jenny Purvis. And nine minutes into the second half, the Nittany Lions added another score to extend their lead.
However, Duke held Penn State to just one more shot in the period, and freshman Emmie Le Marchand added a goal in the 52rd minute to keep the Blue Devils close. It was her team-leading eighth goal of the season, and it came off a pass from Devon Gagliardi. Le Marchand was able to corral the ball near the left side of the goal and fire it past Nittany Lion goalie Ayla Halus. No other Blue Devils were able to get it past Halus, though, who finished with three saves on the day. Duke’s goalkeeper, Samantha Nelson, also had three saves in the contest.
The Blue Devils will take the field in their pivotal regular season finale on Saturday at Williams Field.
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