After defeating Ohio State on Friday, it seemed the Blue Devils would walk out of their opening weekend undefeated. However, their match Sunday against Indiana foiled their plans with a crushing 3-2 overtime loss.
No. 15 Duke (1-1) opened the weekend with a 3-2 overtime victory over No. 6 Ohio State (0-2) on Friday. Junior Devon Gagliardi scored the winning goal with just 21 seconds remaining in extra time. She joined two other Blue Devil scorers, sophomore Emmie Le Marchand and freshman Jessica Buttinger, to ensure the Blue Devils’ season-opening victory for the third year running.
Duke was quick to take command against the Buckeyes. Le Marchand, who led the team in scoring last season, netted a cross from sophomore Caashia Karringten in just the second minute of the game. Buttinger scored her first career goal to put the Blue Devils up 2-1 in the second half, but Ohio State’s Berta Queralt was quick to answer both Duke goals.
The Blue Devils had the advantage with shots, 30-9, and penalty corners, 11-4, but the game stayed tied at 2-2. Once regulation time ended, Duke took control yet again and outshot the Buckeyes 7-1 before Gagliardi’s goal in overtime.
“I am so proud of the level of competitiveness this weekend,” Blue Devil head coach Pam Bustin said. “Even when Ohio State was coming at us, [Duke] found a way to win it. The resilience of this team is great.”
The momentum from Friday’s victory was not enough to carry the Blue Devils through Sunday’s matchup against Indiana (2-0). The Hoosiers played with what Bustin called a “disruptive style” that was difficult for the Duke to adjust to, even physical enough that junior Mary Nielsen needed to leave the field for stitches, unable to return.
Although the Blue Devils adjusted well enough in the second half to tie the game at two at the end of regulation, Indiana’s Morgan Fleetwood finished her second goal of the game to bring her team to victory after 13 minutes of overtime.
“Indiana came at us very hard at the beginning of the game,” Bustin said. “The team stepped up really well, though. We were kind of thrown off by the rhythm of the game. We just had a couple of lapses in the first half that got us in the hole, but I couldn’t be more proud of the effort and the way that we competed in the second half.”
Once again, the Blue Devils controlled shots and penalty corners by a significant margin, 19-6 and 9-5, respectively. Changes made at halftime even allowed Duke to outshoot the Hoosiers 12-1 in the second period. Seeing her team dominate so much of the game, Bustin acknowledges the urgency to finish on scoring opportunities.
“We definitely do have to clean up a little bit what we’re doing on the attacking end to get that final goal,” Bustin said. “It’s just a matter of staying sharp and staying mentally in it from the beginning to the end. It was a great match today with just an unfortunate loss, really. But we’re going to get back at it and be right back at work.”
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