Everybody loves offense: it’s fluid, fun and full of energy. The excitement of scoring keeps fans watching and teams celebrating. In the end, goals win games.
Yet, goals, without the grit of a solid defense, mean nothing. The tough work from the back establishes and gives support to the flashy play up-front. Often, the root of that defense stands alone: the goalie. As the last player between the back of the net and an opponent, a goalie must be confident, steady and calm under pressure.
Perhaps less glamorous than game-winning goals, clean-sheet-keeping stops or lead-preserving saves are essential to the success of the team. Offenses can afford an off-night; goalkeepers, however, need unshakeable performances every time they take their place between posts.
This fall, Duke’s goalies, from field hockey to men’s and women’s soccer, are keeping their teams in each game. Here’s a look at a few of the goalkeepers this fall season:
After a stellar freshman year, Piper Hampsch, Duke’s youngest starting goalkeeper this fall, began her sophomore field hockey season where she left off. Over her first four games, she racked up 20 saves and posted a .690 save percentage. With her strong play, Hampsch is poised to continue her success in goal, just as she did last year—during the 2020-21 season, she saved 80 shots over 16 games. These regular strong showings in goal will help the field hockey team to a winning campaign.
Duke men’s soccer’s Eliot Hamill, returning for his senior season, is a consistently reliable force in net. Last season, Hamill recorded 30 saves, only giving up ten goals in all 802:33 minutes played. This momentum has followed through his first three games this season. With two clean sheets and a career night in saves already recorded, Hamill is proving his prowess in goal while helping his team to early success.
On the women’s side, junior Ruthie Jones is set for further success after registering three saves in the team’s big 2-1 win against Stanford, as well as a shutout against Vanderbilt on August 29. Last season, her first in the starting role, she had a .800 save percentage, registering 56 saves overall. If Jones continues her impressive record in goal, the women’s soccer team is on its way to another resilient season.
From Williams Field to Koskinen Stadium, Duke’s goals are in safe hands. At your next game, while celebrating the excitement of the Blue Devils’ offense, don’t forget to cheer on the grit of the goalies. Watch with confidence: Duke has power between the posts.