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Duke field hockey outlasts weather, Boston College for overtime win

Jack Katz Stadium was electric Friday night, as the Blue Devils overcame severe weather and a relentless Boston College team to capture their second conference win.

Rebounding from the past week’s losses to Louisville and Indiana, No. 9 Duke edged out No. 12 Boston College in a 2-1 overtime thriller that saw included stadium evacuations and took four hours to complete due to weather delays. Duke senior forward Jessica Buttinger ended the stalemate, finding the net in the second minute of sudden-death overtime to close another chapter in the competitive series between the two teams.

“It’s always a battle when we play Boston College,” Buttinger said. “Its crazy. There’s a vibe that we have. We both take the field knowing that neither one of us is backing down.”

In the first half, the Blue Devils and Eagles looked evenly matched. Skilled defenders on both sides of the ball controlled the pace. Duke (9-3, 2-2 in the ACC) had its fair share of opportunities, but Boston College pressured ball handlers and prevented the Blue Devils from getting good looks. The Eagles (9-3, 1-3) struck first, capitalizing on one of their six penalty corners with a quick shot in the 29th minute that gave them the early advantage.

For a moment it looked as if Duke would need to stage a second-half comeback to prevent their losing streak for extending to three games. But the Blue Devils had different ideas, providing a resounding answer to the opening score on a lightning-quick strike from junior midfielder Aileen Johnson. Junior Sarah Urdahl set up the opportunity, launching a centering shot that placed the ball between two Boston College defenders and right at the stick of the Oceanport, N.J., native. From there, Johnson—fresh off a two-assist performance last weekend against Indiana—whistled the Duke equalizer into the back of the net.

“We knew this was going to be a great fight,” head coach Pam Bustin said. “Our history with Boston College is that it’s always a tight game. The energy is always going to be high and the hockey is always going to be super.”

Johnson was not the only the only source of lightning Friday, as the second half was defined by severe weather that suspended play for more than two hours. For Duke, the stoppages could not have come at a better time, as Boston College was dominating possession and firing off twice as many shots as the Blue Devils. The Eagles launched 21 shots at the Blue Devil back line, but sharp goaltending by redshirt junior Lauren Blazing—who ended the game with seven saves—kept Duke in the game. When the deluge forced the teams to seek shelter the field house, the Blue Devils came together as a team and found their focus.

That resolve proved to be crucial heading into overtime after the teams still had not separated after 70 minutes of hockey.

“We felt great going into overtime,” Johnson said. “With the lightning delays we kept having to refocus as a team and get in there. We said ‘We’re not losing this, we've been waiting around all night.' We were ready to come out firing and I feel like we really attacked as a unit.”

The attack wore down the Eagles quickly, as Buttinger found some open space to bring the game to an end with a shot past Boston College goalie Leah Settipane.

For the two teams, Friday's nail-biter was reminiscent of last year’s matchup, which also required overtime to break a 1-1 tie in a game that held implications for both teams heading into the ACC tournament. Duke also won that contest on a quick overtime goal— a carbon copy of the play that resulted in Buttinger’s game-ending finish.

With the victory, the Blue Devils moved back to a .500 record in ACC play, confident they are moving in the right direction. The team can now put the storms of the previous week behind them and refocus for what will be a tough test against Liberty Sunday afternoon.

[Winning] feels great,” Bustin said. “Even in last week’s losses we were tough, and there were moments when we played really great hockey. We’ve faced some adversity and now we’ve taken care of it. I am really proud for our girls, for our team, and what they did tonight.”


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