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Duke field hockey shuts out No. 10 Louisville, earns victory in a shootout

<p>Rose Tynan and the Blue Devils could not convert on opportunities throughout the contest Friday.</p>

Rose Tynan and the Blue Devils could not convert on opportunities throughout the contest Friday.

A long, nail-biting match between two top-10 programs ended in another critical victory for the Blue Devils Friday. 

No. 4 Duke shut out 10th-ranked Louisville in a 1-0 victory at Trager Stadium in Louisville, Ky. The Blue Devils needed 70 hard-fought minutes, two 10-minute overtimes and a shootout to get past the Cardinals on the road. Duke was led by senior stars Rose Tynan and Erin Scherrer and redshirt junior goalie Sammi Steele in the win.

“I’m so pleased for so many reasons. It was a very defensive game today and I’m pleased we were able to keep our composure and keep up our fight," Blue Devil head coach Pam Bustin told GoDuke.com. "For us to finish it with a win against probably the best goalkeeper in the country, [I'm] just really pleased and proud for their belief and for their perseverance.”

Throughout both halves of the match, Duke (12-3, 4-1 in the ACC) dominated offensively, but was unable to capitalize.

The first 16 minutes of the game were mostly centered around both teams fighting back and forth for the ball. However, things got more interesting in the 17th minute, as the Blue Devils got off three attempts at goal, while Louisville (10-4, 2-3) only managed one in all of regulation. Despite strong attempts from Duke to score, the tally still remained scoreless going into halftime.

The second half began similarly to the first, focused on a battle for the ball. Duke’s attack fell silent until the last five minutes of the half, when Tynan and company managed to attempt three more shots before the end of regulation. Even these efforts fell short, as Cardinal goalie Ayeisha McFerran stood strong, dragging both teams into overtime.

Duke’s attack picked up where it left off at the end of the second half and put pressure on the Louisville defense by taking four more shots and two corners in the first extra session. Nonetheless, the game continued on tied to a second overtime.

The second overtime looked to be the opposite of the first, as Louisville’s offense broke out with three shots and two corners. Duke stepped back onto defense and was only able to manage one shot in the 10 minutes that led up to the shootout.

"I’m a little disappointed in the fact that we didn’t create more of the attack that we normally create and that we know how to create," Bustin said. "We kind of got caught in the defensive mode.... It’s a shame we weren’t able to finish it in overtime but their goalkeeper made some great saves."

Despite having led in every offensive category during the game, the shootout began as the Cardinals converted the first of their penalties and Duke was unable to answer. However, Steele fended off the next three penalties, which allowed the Blue Devils to tie it up courtesy of Margaux Paolino’s penalty goal. 

After a seesaw battle in which Duke converted three of its last five penalties—two by Scherrer and one by Tynan—the Blue Devils secured the crucial victory.

“Every game in the ACC is going to be a battle like this,” Bustin said. “We have to come ready to battle, ready to last. Louisville is a great team and they played well tonight. The defensive battle was there. Our senior leadership and Margaux and Jillian [Wolgemuth] did really well to continue to lead the team and hold steady.”

Duke will look to continue its title chase next Friday at its beloved Jack Katz Stadium, where the Blue Devils will host Boston College in another ACC matchup. Friday will also serve as Senior Night, when Duke will be proud to honor its five seniors for their four years of commitment to the program.

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