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Duke field hockey struggles in ACC/Big Ten Cup, drops both games

Goalie Grace Brightbill came in during the second half of the Maryland game and recorded four saves.
Goalie Grace Brightbill came in during the second half of the Maryland game and recorded four saves.

To say the ACC/Big Ten Cup didn’t go as No. 12 Duke planned is an understatement. 

After a tough 3-0 loss Friday to No. 4 Northwestern, the Blue Devils were dealt another blow in a crushing 4-0 defeat by No. 9 Maryland Sunday. Giving up seven goals at home in Jack Katz Stadium and putting up none is demoralizing, even more so after coming into Sunday’s game aiming to build on their showing from Friday. 

“I'm extremely disappointed in a few things: absolutely the score and the outcome, but, more importantly, not really executing and locking in on the things that we've been working on not only throughout the week…but definitely since the game on Friday,” head coach Pam Bustin said after their game against the Terrapins. 

When all was said and done, the Blue Devils (1-3) had only registered four shots, none on goal, to Maryland’s 17 and 11 on goal. Perhaps even more damning were the eight penalty corners the Terrapins (2-1) had versus Duke’s two. In nearly every metric, the Blue Devils could not really muster up much more than anemic, half-hearted attempts.

To be fair, after Duke went down by two just under eight minutes into the game, it’s easy to understand how that sort of perseverance and positive energy might be hard to find. However, it wasn’t the Terrapins’ early goals that signalled that the wheels were off the wagon, but rather the lack of energy and sloppiness that subsequently permeated the game.

“It's really hard as a coach, because it's not something necessarily tactically as far as [it was] they weren't executing the tactics," Bustin said of trying to bounce back after Maryland jumped out to an early lead. "But because they're not executing it, I can't really critique it...It was really like ‘Come on, wake up, you've got to find a way to get the connection together.'"

That’s not to say that the game was all bad. While Bustin made the decision to give star sophomore goalie Piper Hampsch a break in the second half after letting in three goals in impossible-to-save situations, graduate goalie Grace Brightbill stepped in admirably, making four saves on seven shots faced. Hampsch had another three saves on nine shots faced. And while the sheer amount of penalty corners the Terrapins got were emblematic of shaky play, they gave the goalies an opportunity to shine, as Maryland failed to score on any of them, primarily because of the clutch saves made by the goalies. The final score really does not reveal the hard work and talent those two displayed throughout the day, and, without their shining bright spot in an ultimately bleak game the outcome could have been very different. 

Overall, while the outcome of the game was not ideal, to say the least, Bustin is confident that her team can learn to grow from adversity and bounce back from this unfortunate weekend. 

“We're just gonna keep believing and keep growing,” Bustin said. 

Sasha Richie

Sasha Richie is a Trinity junior and the Blue Zone Editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.


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