Although Sunday was Senior Day in Durham, it was the underclassmen who provided the goals against Central Michigan.
Seniors Stefanie Fee, Rhian Jones, Megan Deakins, Samantha Nelson, Tara Jennings and junior Micaela Paterson—who will graduate a year early—all played their final game at Jack Katz Stadium, defeating the Chippewas 5-0 behind four goals from underclassmen.
“Senior day for a coach is always a little bit scary because emotions are so high,” head coach Pam Bustin said. “As coaches, we just want them to keep everything in perspective. In the first half it was almost like they tried too hard, but we found our rhythm in the second half.”
In the opening period, No. 5 Duke (11-5) controlled possession and outshot the Chippewas (8-8) 11-3 but could only take a 2-0 lead on goals from sophomores Caashia Karringten and Emmie Le Marchand. With 13 minutes left in the period, Jennings dribbled into the circle and found Karringten for an easy score. Under four minutes later, junior Devon Gagliardi found Le Marchand on a similar play for another quick goal.
Other than a pair of Central Michigan penalty corners, though, Duke dominated play during the second half. The Blue Devils once again outshot the Chippewas, 10-1, keeping the ball in Central Michigan’s half for almost the entirety of the period.
Karringten scored her second goal on a chip into the high corner of the cage, and freshman Jessica Buttinger added Duke’s fourth goal with just eight minutes left. Jones finished off the scoring for the Blue Devils with a strike from the top of the circle on a late-game penalty corner.
“I’m going to miss everything about [Duke field hockey],” Jones said. “But the best thing is that it doesn’t end after this, and we get to continue as Duke field hockey players forever. We have a strong alumni group, and I know I’m going to be back watching and supporting the team.”
Jennings, who, along with Jones, was a 2010 All-ACC selection, registered two assists in her final home game as a Blue Devil.
“It’s been an amazing four years,” Jennings said. “It’s kind of been a roller coaster for us seniors. I really couldn’t ask for a better senior season with our great coaches. I wish I could do it all over again.”
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