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Duke field hockey splits final two games of regular season

Duke will be the No. 7 seed heading into the Nov. 3-7 ACC tournament.
Duke will be the No. 7 seed heading into the Nov. 3-7 ACC tournament.

In the last stretch of their regular season, the Blue Devils faced both upset and victory this weekend in Boston. 

No. 13 Boston College took down the Blue Devils 3-1 Friday in a hard-fought battle in which the teams entered halftime tied at the Boston College Field Hockey Complex. At first, fans were left under the impression that the game was Duke’s to win—freshman midfielder Logan Clouser scored off a corner rebound within the first three minutes. 

However, they were quickly met with unease when the Eagles took back the game near the end of the first quarter and ultimately led the Blue Devils for the remainder of the game—putting up two more goals to shut out Duke in the second half. Two days after the loss against Boston College (11-5, 2-3 in the ACC), the Blue Devils proved that they still have much to play for, adding one more victory to their resume in a well-deserved 3-0 win against Boston University. 

Prior to this weekend, the Blue Devils had only won one of their last five games—raising the question of whether Duke (6-10, 0-6) has what it takes to be competitive in next week’s ACC championship. But this weekend gave some hope. 

From the first pass-back against Boston University (3-14), Duke had robust control of the ball and the field. The Blue Devils got their first two goals within nine minutes thanks to graduate midfielders MaryKate Neff and Lily Posternak, forcing the Terriers into a defensive game. When the Terriers finally reached the ball, they got some solid drives, but the Blue Devils intercepted. From there, it seemed as if no hope remained for Boston University—the Blue Devils’ successful drives continually led to shots on goal—and by game end, Duke had recorded 19, while the Terriers had a meager three.

Even before the game had started, Boston University’s chances of winning were minuscule. The Terriers were unranked in contrast to Duke coming in a No. 24, and this year’s Boston University squad consists of widely different players than last year and a slim bench. But the Terriers still managed to get some chances.  

After regaining possession late in the fourth quarter, the Terriers secured a penalty corner at 53:09 with an opportunity to shoot and score. Boston University fans were thrilled that the team had a close game to work with for several seconds. Yet, the referees determined it illegal, and the Blue Devils regained the ball and scored—defining the game.

Duke excelled at improvisation this match, which has consistently been a grey area throughout the season. The Blue Devils started the season with many players out from COVID-19 cases, and have looked to be working on finding their rhythm since.

Despite a win against Boston University, the Blue Devils record this season means they still have much to work on this week as they head toward the upcoming ACC championship Nov. 3-7. To get some final practice in, Duke will next face No. 10 North Carolina Oct. 31 at Jack Katz Stadium in a scrimmage to wrap up the season.

Editor's note: Head coach Pam Bustin did not respond to The Chronicle's request for an interview about this weekend's games prior to publishing.


Ana Young

Ana Young is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter for the news and sports departments.

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