Coming off their first loss of the season, the Blue Devils were eager to get off to a fast start on the road against William & Mary. Two goals in the first 10 minutes of play helped do just that.
Third-ranked Duke, led by senior Martine Chichizola’s two goals, defeated the Tribe 3-0 Sunday afternoon to improve to 7-1 on the season. The Blue Devils’ offensive explosion was coupled with goalkeeper Lauren Blazing’s fourth shutout of the season in one of their most complete performances of the season.
“It was a good response. We had a tough game Friday and we were able to adjust some things in practice,” head coach Pam Bustin said. “In the first part of today’s game, we came out strong with our attacking mentality. It gets us back in control of the way we want to play and the kind of game we want to play. We want to be the team that can set the tone from the very first whistle.”
Duke was clearly on the offensive early, taking five shots on goal in the first half of the contest. It was at the 4:41 mark that freshman Ashley Kristen put the ball past Tribe goalkeeper Meredith Savage on an assist by Heather Morris to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes later, Chichizola deflected in a shot from Kristen to give the Blue Devils an insurmountable two-goal margin. By halftime, Duke had accumulated a 9-2 shot advantage and appeared to be in firm control of the game.
Heading into the second half, the Blue Devils stayed aggressive offensively with nine more shots and controlled the time of possession. Duke then broke through once again in the 68th minute when Chichizola put in a rebound at the near post to give Duke a 3-0 lead. The goal was her second of the game and of the season and was a product of the constant pressure the Blue Devils placed on the Tribe defense.
“We kind of tailed off a bit and we wanted to finish this year better and I think towards the end of the game we started building on that again,” Bustin said. “The key overall is just continuing to lengthen the amount of time we are able to play our best and the kind of hockey we want to play. We want to be able to sustain our level of play for the full 70 minutes.”
In addition to the solid outing had by the Duke offense, the Blue Devil defense turned in a strong effort, limiting William & Mary to just four shots and four corners. The defense was boosted by a solid effort from Blazing, who posted three saves in the shutout. The strong offensive and defensive performances by Duke were exactly what the young squad needed to move on from a tough loss to conference opponent Virginia.
“It’s just a different challenge. This group of youngsters is super talented and it’s just a matter of exposing them to experience and helping them develop their own way of playing, ” Bustin said. “It’s very exciting for our future and very exciting as we go from game to game.”
The Blue Devils will now return home to Williams Field to host California Friday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.
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