The Blue Devil stars have powered the team to their best start ever, but for the second straight game it was the role players who came up big to keep Duke unbeaten.
Two days after senior midfielder Hunter Bracale scored the game-winner at No. 6 Louisville, the No. 2 Blue Devils shut out Miami (Ohio) 3-0 Sunday afternoon at the Miami Field Hockey Complex in Oxford, Ohio. Sophomore forward Rose Tynan led the way with two goals, her second coming less than two minutes after senior Robin Blazing put Duke up 2-0 early in the second half.
On the other end of the field, sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele and the Blue Devil defense snuffed out seven shot attempts and four penalty corners to notch their third shutout of the season.
“We did a great job managing the game today,” Duke head coach Pam Bustin told GoDuke.com. “The game management was challenged many times for different reasons and [we] found a way to stay true to [our] game and really just keep playing hockey and keep finding solutions to keep possession and to take the ball away from Miami.”
Coming off Friday’s game in which the Cardinals outshot the Blue Devils, Duke (8-0) was the more aggressive team Sunday, using a 13-7 edge in shots to dictate play for much of the game.
For the third straight game, the Blue Devils struck first, this time in the 15th minute. Junior Alexa Mackintire fired a ball toward the scoring area that Tynan tipped at the right time, deflecting it past Miami goalkeeper Alysa Xavier for her fourth goal of the season.
Duke made sure that lead would stand up during the rest of the period, using its press to keep the RedHawks (3-5) off balance.
Early in the second half, the Blue Devils gave themselves an even bigger cushion.
In the 47th minute, Blazing was in the right place after a shot, collecting the rebound and slotting it past Xavier for her second goal of the season.
Ninety seconds later, Tynan—a reserve forward—continued to provide a spark for Duke off the bench, tallying her second of the game with a shot from the top of the circle.
Although Miami contained the Blue Devils’ best offensive starters—forwards Heather Morris and Ashley Kristen, defender Alyssa Chillano and assist specialist Margaux Paolino—Duke showcased its depth once again Sunday.
The RedHawks also edged the Blue Devils on penalty corners 4-3 after a hectic final 10 minutes to the game, but Duke’s defense held steady to preserve the three-goal lead.
“Our corner defense had the best game of their season as far as late in the game, under pressure, playing clean and playing smart in the backfield,” Bustin said. “That was really good. And they just kept it simple. Sammi, again, came up big toward the end of the game, but overall defensively, from our pressing lines with back tackling all the way to the backfield, we were able to maintain the Miami attack, which is very dangerous.”
After extending their program-best start to a season Sunday, the Blue Devils will now turn their attention to No. 3 North Carolina.
The two teams scrimmaged in August—the Tar Heels came out on top 3-2—and will meet Sunday afternoon in Chapel Hill for one of the many ACC showdowns in 2016.
“To come away 2-0 on this weekend is a big deal. But for us, it really doesn’t have any impact on what we do next week,” Bustin said. “What we’re going to have to do is get back to practice and start preparing for UNC.”
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