Although the Blue Devils are off to their best start in several years, they once again could not break through against one of the nation’s elite, falling to a top-10 opponent by one goal for the fourth time this season.
Duke split its contests this weekend, falling to Maryland 2-1 Saturday and crushing James Madison 9-1 Sunday.
The No. 8 Blue Devils (8-5, 2-2 in the ACC) kicked off the weekend against the No. 3 Terrapins (11-1, 4-0). From the first face-off, Maryland had a difficult time maintaining control of the ball, and in its fleeting moments of possession could not penetrate the stonewall Blue Devil defense.
Luckily for the Terrapins, though, they only needed two opportunities to secure the win.
The first came eighteen minutes into the game, when Jemma Buckley scored from six yards out off a penalty corner, giving Maryland a 1-0 lead. Duke responded early in the second half when freshman forward Martine Chichizola tapped in a pass from sophomore Caashia Karringten.
But Buckley’s second chance secured another goal and the win for the Terrapins on a shot off another penalty corner in the 61st minute.
Duke had its share of opportunities to score an equalizer, outshooting the Terrapins 15-9 and earning 10 penalty corners to Maryland’s six.
“I think we were pleased with our performance. I think it was another step forward for us,” senior Rhian Jones said. “If you look at the stats or watched the game, it was clear we dominated.”
In its matchup with James Madison (5-7) the following day, the Blue Devils did not have time to dwell on the narrow loss, but it was clear the team was not willing to let opportunity escape them twice in one weekend.
Duke was able to secure a 9-1 blowout win over the Dukes, their highest scoring game since Oct. 25, 2008, when it scored 10 goals against Appalachian State.
Six different Blue Devils contributed goals in the game, led by Emmie Le Marchand, who added three to her team-leading total. Tara Jennings recorded two more scores, and Mary Nielsen, Jessica Buttinger and Chichizola added one each.
Duke recorded an impressive 30 shots and 9 penalty corners while holding James Madison to just three in each category.
“We’re mentally stronger than we were before,” Chichizola said. “Even though we were the better team, we respected the opponent.”
Head coach Pam Bustin also noted that the team’s turnaround was really just “a matter of getting back at it.”
With back-to-back home games, Bustin was also proud of her team’s ability to adjust its play overnight.
“We’re going to find a way to get the result we want,” Bustin said, “and the team feels good about the way they’re playing.”
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