The victory over Wake Forest Saturday was more than just the Blue Devils’ first win at home this season. It was their first ACC victory since defeating Maryland in October 2008. Duke also defeated Longwood 1-0 Sunday to mark its third straight shutout.
“I hope it gives a lot of our fans…an idea about the fight that this team has and the cohesiveness that’s developing within this unit each day and each time we’re on the field,” head coach Pam Bustin said. “It’s for down the road. They have a good mission in mind.”
No. 9 Duke (5-1, 1-0 in the ACC) dominated the Wake Forest game more than the 1-0 score suggested. The Blue Devils rifled off 14 shots and held the Demon Deacons (1-4, 0-1 ACC) to four. Junior Devon Gagliardi capitalized off a rebounded penalty corner from sophomore Emmie Le Marchand early in the second half to give Duke a lead that it never relinquished.
Senior goalkeeper Samantha Nelson saved a penalty corner late in the game to keep the shutout alive. After recording two this weekend, Neilson now has 15 career shutouts.
“Whether you try to make it like any other match or not, you always put a little extra something in [ACC matchups],” Bustin said. “[Wake Forest is] just up the road ,and they’re in your conference.”
Duke’s little extra something paid off this time around. The Blue Devils fell to the Demon Deacons 3-2 in quadruple overtime in last year’s regular season matchup, making this weekend’s win even more sweet.
Sunday’s game against Longwood (2-4) was more frustrating offensively for Duke. The team outshot the Lancers 25-2 but was only able to score off a penalty stroke with just 1:30 remaining in the game.
Longwood’s junior goalkeeper Kaye Goulding had an impressive outing, keeping the Blue Devils at bay for most of the game. She saved 13 of Duke’s shots and kept the game tied until Le Marchand’s goal from the penalty stroke.
The Blue Devils earned a penalty corner with two minutes remaining. According to Le Marchand, things got “messy” in front of the net. The Lancer defender dropped to her knees and blocked Le Marchand’s shot with her body. Because the player was the last line of defense, this earned Duke a penalty stroke. Le Marchand stepped up to put away the shot without second thought.
“I earned it and I wanted to score, so I went for it,” Le Marchand said. “I was in that game mode, and it was near the end. I knew how much the team wanted to score and didn’t want to do another 15 minutes of overtime.”
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