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Duke field hockey gets Northeast homecoming with two ranked opponents on tap

<p>Senior Alexa Mackintire scored last week against Old Dominion and will be playing in her home state this weekend.</p>

Senior Alexa Mackintire scored last week against Old Dominion and will be playing in her home state this weekend.

After a long homestand, No. 2 Duke is hitting the road again this weekend. 

The Blue Devils are coming off a strong home showing against Old Dominion last weekend ready to face some of their toughest competition to date. Duke travels to face No. 9 Boston College and No. 22 Boston University this weekend in Massachusetts. The game against the Eagles is set for 4 p.m. Friday in Newton, and the Blue Devils will face the Terriers at 1 p.m. Sunday in Boston. It is a homecoming of sorts for Duke, as a majority of the team is from the Northeast. 

“It is good to get back on the road actually because we get to come home to another great homestand," Blue Devil head coach Pam Bustin said. “Two games on the road is part of the season. We are going up to Boston, which is great, so we are going to try and make it as family-oriented and as close to home as we possibly can. It is pretty good trip if you have to travel to play somewhere.” 

Duke (7-1, 1-1 in the ACC) prevailed against the unranked Monarchs 3-0 last Sunday, as senior Alexa Mackintire opened the scoring, being credited with an own goal in the 12th minute of play. The Blue Devils, currently on a four-game winning streak, will look to the leadership of seniors Mackintire, Ainsley Gill and Ashley Kristen on the attack as they head up to Boston to face some of the ACC’s best Friday. 

Mackintire, a native of Southborough, Mass., is coming on at the right time for Duke. 

“I thought Alexa was outstanding last weekend on the field and as a leader.” Bustin said. “I expect the same from her this weekend. This is her town that we are going to, so it should be fun for her to get out there and continue to build on the awesome way she has been playing.” 

Duke will need its senior leadership to thrive in order to compete with the Eagles and the Terriers this weekend. Boston College (7-3, 0-3 ACC) has been unable to get over the hump against ACC foes in the early going this season. 

The Eagles pulled out a 5-4 win against Pacific in double overtime last weekend after losing to Virginia Friday. Boston College had 27 shots against Pacific, with junior Lucy Lytle and senior Brooke Matherson leading the way. Matherson secured the win in the second overtime with the first game-winning goal of her career. 

“BC is having a great season obviously,” Bustin said. “They are a conference opponent, so we will, as always, be prepared and be ready to bring out best game. You know having two ranked teams on the road is always difficult, but we are ready for it and we are just going to have to stay on task and play our game.” 

Boston University (5-4) failed to get on the scoreboard last weekend in a 1-0 loss to No. 16 Princeton. Freshman Ailsa Connolly leads the Terriers in both points and goals this season with 12 and six, respectively. 

Duke had an opportunity to examine its depth last week against Old Dominion heading in the most challenging part of the season. Juniors Rose Tynan and Erin Scherrer connected for a goal early in the second half that got the Blue Devils rolling. Scherrer, a native of Chesapeake, Va., already has six points this year as a key reserve. Duke will need that kind of production from its bench this weekend.

“Hopefully as your season goes on, your depth becomes stronger and more significant, and we want to continue to build on that,” Bustin said. “It will be a great challenge in different ways. I want the kids to get out there and get more experience. I want the freshman and sophomores to play different styles of hockey and to do it in different environments. It will make us as a team better as the season goes on.” 

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