New year, new team, same results.
For the second consecutive season, Duke field hockey blanked William & Mary and eked out an overtime victory over Liberty.
The No. 3 Blue Devils hosted the No. 22 Tribe Friday evening to kick off their season and wasted no time getting started. The scoring was initiated by a pair of freshmen midfielders in Kiki Rozemeijer and Leah Crouse while Sammi Steele and the Duke defense stifled the attack.
“We have been ready to get out and run against another team,” head coach Pam Bustin told GoDuke.com. “With the depth of this team, energy is going to be a big part of what we try to achieve every game. I think we try to bring a lot of energy to all the lines on the field with our rotation. We want to continue to build on that to make some good things happen.”
Rozemeijer, a Netherlands native, put a Jillian Wolgemuth pass into the back of the cage to tally the Blue Devils’ (2-0) first goal of the season just under 10 minutes into the contest.
“We started off really well,” Rozemeijer said. “There was a lot of energy, a simple process. I felt we had great energy as a team.”
As the end of the half approached, with a defense failing to surrender a single shot, a fast break opportunity led to another scoring opportunity for Duke. Crouse found space on the right side of the cage and was able to put home another goal to extend the Blue Devils’ lead.
“Over the past three weeks we’ve been working really hard to realize how to work together in our press,” Crouse said. “Our press was so much better than in our scrimmages. We have progressed so much as a team and we’re just going to keep building from here.”
With the freshmen stealing the spotlight early, the seniors made sure they got in on the scoring action, with Caroline Andretta and Rose Tynan both finding the back of the cage to double Duke’s lead.
Andretta scored off of Tynan’s pass early in the second half from the middle of the circle before Tynan—who lead the team in scoring last year—tallied one of her own in the 68th minute. Behind the offensive fireworks was a strong defensive performance that limited the Tribe (1-1) from seeing any good looks on goal. The Blue Devils outshot William & Mary 21-3 and earned six penalty corners to none, with Steele forced to make just one save to preserve the clean sheet.
“Our defense was a total team effort, from the pressing lines to the backfield patience,” Bustin said. “Sammi did have to pull out a couple good saves there towards the end, but overall the energy and the work rate we had on the front line and in the midfield helped to make the job for the backfield a bit easier.”
After defeating the Tribe with ease, Duke had a tougher test with the No. 23 Flames Sunday afternoon at Jack Katz Stadium. Last season, Tynan notched the winning tally in the 74th minute in Blacksburg, Va., to push the Blue Devils to victory.
Today, it took three more minutes before Margaux Paolino gave Duke a 4-3 overtime victory. The Villanova, Pa., native knocked in a backhand shot from a feed from Dutch graduate student Tessa Gotte to push the Blue Devils to an undefeated start to their season – taking advantage of a yellow card to Liberty’s Jill Bolton.
“We were transferring the ball very well in OT and trying to maintain possession,” Paolino said. “Rose [Tynan] cutting through opened it up for Tessa to get me that ball and just took the shot on goal, and luckily it went in. It always feels good to get a goal, but especially an OT winner.”
Much like Friday, Duke wasted no time getting started, with Andretta finishing a feed from Erin Scherrer to tally her second goal of the season. Despite withstanding penalty corners throughout the first half, the Flames (1-1) struck through just over 10 minutes later on a Bolton penalty corner.
However, the Blue Devils responded valiantly, with freshman Olivia Sahaydak and junior Haley Schleicher scoring within two minutes of one another before intermission to give the squad a 3-1 lead at the break.
Halftime seemed to kill the scoring momentum for Duke, as the team was blanked in the second half while Liberty found its equalizers. Senior Agueda Moroni, who had a hat trick in the Flames’ season opener against James Madison, notched her 4th goal of the season on a diving backhand from eight yards out to cut the deficit in half.
Liberty knotted the game at 3 with just over 11 minutes remaining on another penalty corner–this time finished by Lizzie Hamlett off a Moroni assist.
“Liberty gave us a great challenge, as they always do,” Bustin said. “They have a real special player in [Moroni] and they have a great team behind her. But if we could manage some of the set pieces, we knew we could give them a good game. Unfortunately, the set pieces are what got us. We’ll look back as to why we conceded as many as we did at the beginning of the second half. We did a good job fixing it towards the end of the second half, and converting on ours now in critical moments is going to be the next step.”
With their first weekend behind them, Duke will look to prep for a tough weekend ahead. The Blue Devils will travel to Maryland to compete in the Big 10/ACC Challenge where they will play No. 12 Northwestern Friday and No. 4 Maryland Sunday.
“I’m really proud of them for sticking with it,” said Bustin. “We’ve been practicing to try to prepare for this. With our level of scheduling and opponents, we’re going to see overtimes and we’re going to see ourselves facing those situations after hot conditions like today. I’m really proud of the way they stepped on the overtime field and just got it done.”
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