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Duke field hockey drops overtime heartbreaker to No. 6 Stanford

<p>Senior Sarah Urdahl notched the first goal of the game Sunday, but the Blue Devils could not make it hold up, falling 3-2 to No. 6 Stanford in overtime.</p>

Senior Sarah Urdahl notched the first goal of the game Sunday, but the Blue Devils could not make it hold up, falling 3-2 to No. 6 Stanford in overtime.

The Blue Devils came within 32 seconds of returning from their West Coast road trip with a 2-0 record and a hard-fought victory against a top-10 opponent.

Instead, Stanford junior Fran Tew split two Duke defenders and scored at the end of regulation to knot the score at 2-2 and send the contest into overtime. Once in the extra session, the No. 6 Cardinal capitalized, as Casey Deeds finished a pass from Caroline Beaudoin for the game-winner to beat No. 5 Duke 3-2 at the Varsity Field Hockey Turf in Stanford, Calif. The Blue Devils defeated California 5-1 Friday night in their season-opener and carried that momentum into the first half of Sunday’s match against Stanford but could not close out the win.

The Blue Devils scored twice in the opening period Sunday but could not find the net in the second half while the Cardinal found its footing in the final minutes to tie the game.

“We just have to be able to lock in and play it all the way through to the end,” Duke head coach Pam Bustin said. “Both the goals we gave up in regulation were in the waning seconds. That’s unacceptable and that’s not how we play the game. It’s something that we’ve got to address in practice as we get back on the field next week.”

Stanford (1-1) was locked in another close match Friday against No. 4 Syracuse, falling behind in the eighth minute of the game. Senior midfielder Maddie Secco found the net in the 68th minute to save the Cardinal from a shutout in their season opener, but the Orange put away the game with a second goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first period of extra time.

The Blue Devils’ matchup with Stanford Sunday got off to a similar start but the home team refused to allow another loss.

Duke (1-1) was more aggressive on offense in the first period, taking seven shots to the Cardinal’s four and scoring twice. In the 23rd minute, senior midfielder Sarah Urdahl took advantage of an opportunity inside, sending a rebound over Stanford goalkeeper Dulcie Davies for the first goal of the game. Eight minutes later, junior Heather Morris sent a long ball across the circle to midfielder Alexa Mackintire, and the sophomore tapped in the Blue Devils’ second goal.

“I thought that those two goals, particularly, were earned by the Duke players,” Bustin said. “They really fought hard to finish it, they did it as a team, they did it together—and that’s something that we stopped doing in the second half.”

The Cardinal came back in the second period with nine shots on goal. Blue Devil goalkeeper Lauren Blazing was able to make seven saves, adding to her four from the first period, but Secco scored in the 51st minute to cut Duke’s lead in half.

Blazing weathered two Stanford penalty corners in the final minutes of regulation, giving the Blue Devil squad hope for their second victory of the weekend.

“[Lauren] made some key saves,” Bustin said.  “Particularly in the second half I think we were a little more appreciative. The Stanford goalie had an outstanding game. She saved a goal where we could have finished it and she kept Stanford in the game, and I think she gave them a lot of energy on the other end.”

Duke fared better in Friday’s contest. Sophomore forward Ashley Kristen earned the first hat trick of her collegiate career with her first goal coming off of a penalty corner and two goals in the second period. Morris and classmate Hunter Bracale also found the net to help the Blue Devils down the Golden Bears 5-1.

Duke’s schedule will not let up as the regular season heads into its second weekend. The Blue Devils have another pair of games at a neutral site this weekend, taking on No. 10 Northwestern Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 3 Maryland Sunday at 3 p.m. in Lancaster, Pa.

“Every game is going to be a close game and every game is going to be one that we’re going to have to stay in it for however long it takes,” Bustin said. “Mentally and physically, we have to be the tougher team.”

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