Coming off an impressive 1-0 shutout of Syracuse, Duke entered Sunday’s matchup against Saint Joseph’s looking to convert with more efficiency.

In the last day of the Blue Devils’ stint in Upstate New York, No. 4 Duke surged to a 6-3 victory against No. 14 Saint Joseph’s at J.S. Coyne Stadium in Syracuse, N.Y. The Blue Devils converted on six of their 15 shots on goal Sunday, compared to just one of 12 against Syracuse. Senior forward Erin Scherrer led the way for Duke with a hat trick.

“We wanted to create the attack that we had created on Friday, but with the emphasis of cleaning it up and how we finish in the circle,“ Blue Devil head coach Pam Bustin told GoDuke.com. “I’m really pleased by the way we made those changes from the 25-yard up forward.” 

Duke (6-2) burst out to a strong start with multiple senior forwards setting the tone of aggression and bringing energy immediately. Coming off two straight games of having scored a goal—including the game winning shot against Syracuse Friday—senior forward Caroline Andretta continued her hot streak in the opening minutes with a score in the seventh minute. Ten minutes later, Erin Scherrer rebounded a shot from Rose Tynan to double Duke’s advantage.

The Blue Devils came into Sunday’s matchup with Saint Joseph’s well aware of its fiery defense. Despite two Duke goals in the opening 20 minutes of the match, the Hawks’ defense put a stop to the momentum. Multiple blocked shots turned defense into offense for the Hawks, who capitalized in the 26th minute with a diving goal from Tonya Botherway, her sixth of the season. The goal came off a pass outside the circle from senior forward Anna Willocks. 

“Coming into this game, we knew that they wanted to come out and beat us,” Scherrer said. “So we needed to play our game and come out hard from Syracuse because we played really well against Syracuse and pressured them, so just putting that force on Saint Joe’s is really important.”

While the Hawks’ defense slowed the Blue Devils down momentarily going into the half, Duke came out of the locker room unfazed, playing with the same spirit that they did entering the contest.

Less than a minute out of the locker room, Andretta tapped in a shot at the front of the cage off a pass from junior Margaux Paolino. Soon after in the 41st minute, Scherrer punched in her second goal of the game to put Duke up 4-1, leading to a timeout call by Saint Joseph’s.

The remainder of the game saw the teams trading goals with Tynan scoring in the 53rd minute before Emily Henry answered with a score in the 57th minute for Saint Joseph’s (4-2). The Hawks kept the pressure on defense with multiple blocked shots and gained three penalty corner opportunities in a matter of 10 minutes, appearing to have one last push in them. However, it was all too late when Scherrer completed her hat trick in the closing minutes to put the Blue Devil lead up to four. 

Scherrer credited her three goals to her teammates and the game plan.

“I think the build up from the attack overall is what really caused those goals” she said. “I think everybody contributed, everyone was joining, everyone wanted to get into the circle and really put pressure on their goalie. It was a joint effort.”

With Hurricane Florence and its road stretch coming to a close, Duke will return to Durham to take on North Carolina at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium this Friday at 6 p.m.