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Duke field hockey falls to No. 1 Maryland in overtime

Lauren Blazing made 12 saves, but that was not enough for Duke to top No. 1 Maryland in the ACC tournament semifinal.
Lauren Blazing made 12 saves, but that was not enough for Duke to top No. 1 Maryland in the ACC tournament semifinal.

The Blue Devils came all the way back from a two-goal deficit, but fell to the nation’s No. 1 team in overtime.

Fourth-seeded Duke fell to the ACC tournament top seed, No. 1 Maryland, 3-2 Friday afternoon at the Boston College Field Hockey Complex in Newton, Mass. The Terrapins went on to win the ACC tournament Sunday with a 2-0 win against No. 3 North Carolina.

“To know that we came back from a deficit and scored two goals on them and went into overtime—we should feel really good about that,” Duke head coach Pam Bustin said. “For us to have that kind of second half and have that attitude in a tournament will carry over and bode us well for the NCAA tournament.”

The Terrapins (20-1, 7-0 in the ACC) controlled overtime, holding Duke without a shot and scoring just 3:52 into the extra period when forward Maxine Fluharty knocked in Maryland’s third rebound tally of the game.

Although the Blue Devils went back to the locker room down 2-0, they came out and improved their play in the second half. With a stronger second-half showing, Duke (14-6, 3-3) continued a trend that has at times plagued—but also propelled—the team during the latter part of the season

The Blue Devils kept the Terrapins scoreless in the last 35 minutes, while attempting five shots of their own, but Duke's offensive attack had trouble capitalizing on opportunities near the Maryland goal.

“We need to be a little more alert and smarter below the 25-yard line,” Bustin said.

The attack began picked up its pace and pressured the Terrapin defensive lines, which would crumble in the 52nd minute when senior midfielder Grace Christus found forward Abby Beltrani for the Blue Devils’ first goal of the afternoon.

Maryland did not seem content with a one-goal lead and responded to Duke's goal by attacking, but All-Tournament goalkeeper Lauren Blazing kept the Terrapins at bay with 12 saves on the afternoon.

“We had a lot of the momentum. We definitely had the energy going our way,” Beltrani said. “The goals kept pushing our energy and kept pushing the momentum toward us.”

Continuing to pressure the goal in 60th minute, the Blue Devils took advantage of an opportunity to tie the score.

Duke was awarded a penalty corner and this time Beltrani sent the ball to forward Hannah Barreca, who shot the ball in from the top of the circle.

“We worked on that play so hard in practice,” Beltrani said. “We want to do the same thing we have done every day in practice and we executed—so all of our hard work paid off.”

With neither team able to score in the remainder of regulation, the game headed to overtime when Fluharty notched a quick goal to secure a victory and a spot in championship game.

The Duke defense was busy fending off the Maryland attack in the first half, but it was second chances that gave the Terrapins the lead. Only eight minutes into the game, forward Alyssa Parker came up with the rebound and tapped the ball in for a goal.

Fifteen minutes later, Maryland struck again. Forward Emma Rissinger was at the goal for another rebound and shot it in off of the left post.

“[Rebounding] is something we will be reviewing in practice this week,” senior defender Paula Heimbach said. “It is just defensive positioning—sometimes the rebound gets stuck in an unlucky place—but we can do a better job at being closer to our marks in the circle which is something that we struggled with. “

The Blue Devils secured a number-three seed in the NCAA Tournament and will face New Hampshire Friday in Durham. The team, however, knows that a hard week of practice is ahead and there is much to improve on, especially getting off to a fast start against the nation's top competition.

“We always say that we are a second-half team,” Heimbach said. “We definitely need to come out in the first half.”

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