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Takeaways from Duke field hockey's dominant B1G/ACC Cup performance

<p>Sammi Steele notched four saves against Maryland in Duke's shoutout of the Terrapins.</p>

Sammi Steele notched four saves against Maryland in Duke's shoutout of the Terrapins.

After emerging victorious in both of their home matches to start the season, the Blue Devils looked to continue their winning ways, this time on the road. 

Duke hit the road for Evanston, Ill., to play in the B1G/ACC Cup against host Northwestern and Maryland. The Blue Devils came into the weekend riding a two-game winning streak with a ranking of third in the country, but their hardest test against No. 2 Maryland was yet to come. But first, the team would have to get past No. 15 Northwestern. 

They picked up right where they left off the previous weekend, as they handled Northwestern 2-1 and Maryland 1-0, improving to a 4-0 record on the season, continuing to ride on the back of their defense to get there.

Three statistics that matter

  1. Six shots by Leah Crouse: Crouse finished with six shots over the course of the weekend, five of them on goal. Crouse found the back of the net in the second overtime period against Northwestern to clinch the game.
  2. Five team saves against Maryland: Redshirt senior Sammi Steele had a big game against the Terrapins, notching four saves to help shut out Maryalnd in Duke’s first top-five matchup of the season. Steele also had a save against Northwestern to bring her total to five saves on the weekend.
  3. 15-2 shot margin in Duke’s favor Duke was relentless in the final third, ensuring that the Northwestern defense would not have a moment to rest. The Blue Devil offensive attack allowed the team to eventually breakthrough in double overtime to win the first game of the weekend. 

Key quotes

  • Head coach Pam Bustin on the team’s resiliency:

“[The game] was very physical and there were times that could’ve shaken us off our game, but the kids just stayed in it, they stayed together, they kept their composure and they didn’t judge anything. They just kept playing until something went our way. I give a lot of credit to Northwestern, they defended the goal cage as team which made it very difficult for us and kept them in the game.”

  • Bustin on Duke scoring first against Maryland:

“We wanted to come out strong, we didn’t want to be the ones on the backfoot in the beginning. We had games like that already this season. [I’m] really proud that they came with the pedal to the metal and their attention was where it needed to be at the start of the game.”

  • Steele on shutting out Maryland, the second ranked team in the nation:

“Always feels pretty good to come away with a shutout against a good team. Just really proud of our defense, thought we played really well today.”

  • Bustin on taking on such challenging opponents this early in the season:

“We love the game, we love the competition. We’re fortunate to be in a tournament so early in the season that showcases such great competition and a high level of hockey that I hope it helps all four teams, that's the idea. But for us, we just want to take it one game at a time.”

Jonathan Browning contributed reporting.

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