With Hurricane Florence barreling toward the Carolinas, it was unclear if any Duke teams would see game action this weekend.
But the Blue Devils put the storm in the back of their minds and were all business in a clinical win at Syracuse to open ACC play.
No. 4 Duke shut out the No. 12 Orange 1-0 and didn't allow a shot Friday afternoon at J.S. Coyne Field in Syracuse, N.Y. Senior Caroline Andretta notched the only goal of the game–her fourth of the season and second in as many contests–a little after the midpoint of the first half to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 victory.
“I am extremely proud of them,” head coach Pam Bustin told GoDuke.com. “There is a lot on their minds and a lot going on for all of us. For them to come out and play a game as well as they did was an escape for them to play and have some fun and be together.”
Duke (5-2, 1-0 in the ACC) came out firing, unleashing five shots and three penalty corners in the first 20 minutes of the match before Andretta finally found the back of the cage in the 21st minute. After weaving through Syracuse defenders holding midfield, the New Vernon, N.J., native passed the ball off to her teammates before Leah Crouse returned it to the sender, setting Andretta up for a clean shot to the right side of the cage.
“It has been a crazy week, but we just wanted to get here and play our game,” Andretta said. “Even though we are not home, we are just going to stick to our game, be the attacking team that we are. We can just build from there and finish the last shot.”
The assist marked the fifth point of the year for Crouse, a freshman midfielder/forward from Virginia Beach, Va. The newcomers have made an impact for the team early, with fellow first-years Olivia Sahaydek and Kiki Rozemeijer contributing 11 points of their own this season.
While the offense continued its onslaught on the Orange defense–posting nine shots and six on goal through the first half–the Blue Devil back line remained impenetrable, not allowing Syracuse any chances.
The second half was much of the same story, with Duke tallying 12 more shots and six on goal as well as three penalty corner opportunities. Despite the aggression from Bustin's squad, Syracuse's Borg van der Velde kept the Blue Devils at bay with a career-high 11 saves to keep the Orange within reach. Nonetheless, Duke's defense continued its suffocating play, preserving a complete clean sheet by ceding zero shots and zero penalty opportunities to prevent any real scoring threats.
“It is about the win as far as ACC play,” Bustin said. “The way we played, I am happy for us as a team to continue to build as we move through the season. But a win in the ACC is not easy and it is important.”
The Blue Devils will stay in New York for the remainder of the weekend, with their Sunday morning matchup against No. 14 St. Joseph’s moved from Durham to the Syracuse stadium due to Florence. The contest will be a final tuneup before a huge rivalry showdown against No. 1 North Carolina next Friday back home at Jack Katz Stadium.
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