Duke is heading in to the balmy weather of upstate New York to open ACC play and escape Hurricane Florence this weekend.
The fourth-ranked Blue Devils will visit No. 12 Syracuse Friday at 4 p.m. at J.S. Coyne Stadium looking for their first-ever victory against the ACC powerhouse before remaining in Syracuse to face No. 14 Saint Joseph's Sunday morning at 10. Duke was initially scheduled to host the Hawks in Durham Sunday, but changed plans due to the incoming storm.
After splitting pairs of games against top-15 opponents on back-to-back weekends away from home, the Blue Devils (4-2) will be looking to go 2-0 this time against two exceptional defenses. Duke is the eighth-highest scoring team in the nation with 3.5 goals per game, but its opponents this weekend have combined to allow just 12 scores in 10 contests.
The Blue Devils' dangerous attack is led by senior Rose Tynan, who was named the ACC's Co-Offensive Player of the Week for her performances last weekend in a loss to then-No. 6 Princeton and a 4-1 victory against then-No. 5 Penn State. Tynan has scored six goals and has 15 points so far this year, nearly twice as many as anybody else on the roster.
But Syracuse (3-2) has been Duke's nemesis since joining the ACC in 2013, winning all five meetings between the two teams. The Orange are reeling from back-to-back losses last week to top-10 opponents Virginia and Connecticut and have not yet beaten a current top-20 team, but their defense took the Cavaliers to double overtime on the road in a 2-1 defeat.
Junior Claire Webb and senior Roos Weers anchor a veteran back line for Syracuse in front of sophomore goalie Borg van der Velde, and the Orange's leading scorer is sophomore Chiara Gutsche.
The Blue Devils will wrap up the six-game road swing against Saint Joseph's (4-1), a team they have not played since 2009. The Hawks' defense has been even more stingy than that of Syracuse, with two shutout victories in their last three games, including a 1-0 victory against then-No. 9 Delaware.
St. Joseph's will be well-rested after its scheduled game at Davidson Friday was postponed, and it has not taken the field since topping Pennsylvania 4-0 last Sunday. The Hawks' offense revolves around freshman Tonya Botherway, who has scored five goals—none of her teammates has more than two.
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