Duke field hockey's late surge not enough in home loss to James Madison

<p>Duke dropped its Sunday match to James Madison.</p>

Duke dropped its Sunday match to James Madison.

A fourth-quarter goal in field hockey, let alone two, is usually the difference maker that propels a team to victory. Unfortunately for Duke, such a goal-scoring effort proved to be too little too late Sunday.

Despite a fourth-quarter push, the 20th-ranked Blue Devils fell 4-2 to No. 21 James Madison on Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium, marking their first loss to the Dukes since 2007. The defeat comes on the heels of a Friday loss to No. 18 Boston College.

“Our discipline has just been wavering,” said head coach Pam Bustin after the game. “We’ve had an incredible week of practice. I felt really good getting into both games this weekend, with our preparation. We have got to figure out what’s happening when the whistle blows.”

Over the course of the game, Duke (4-6, 0-2 in the ACC) outshot James Madison 17-8, notching 12 corners to the Dukes’ two along the way, but James Madison’s efficiency could not be matched. After a scoreless first quarter, the floodgates opened when the Dukes (7-3) converted on its first corner of the game eight minutes into the second quarter. With a beautiful service from James Madison’s Mia Julian, freshman Alice Roeper sent a reverse shot past Blue Devil goalie Piper Hampsch to tally her third goal of the season. 

From there, it seemed as if the Dukes’ momentum could not be stopped. James Madison came out swinging in the early aughts of the third period, with senior midfielder Emily Harrison tallying an unassisted goal that sailed high over the head of Hampsch to give the Dukes a 2-0 lead. On their only other corner of the day, the Dukes capitalized off of a beautiful behind-the-back pass from senior forward Eveline Zwager to the stick of senior midfielder Morgan Merritt, who fired it home through the legs of Hampsch. 

The Blue Devils entered the fourth period down 3-0, but they still showed some fight until the bitter end. Duke was finally able to put away one of their corner opportunities in the 47th minute thanks to senior forward Hannah Miller. Nonetheless, the Dukes responded less than two minutes later with a goal of their own from Zwager, stretching the James Madison lead to 4-1. The Blue Devils continued to persist, stringing together offensive possessions reminiscent of their initial first period play.

“Our fourth quarter today was dominating,” said Bustin about the team’s late surge. “That’s the kind of energy and the kind of hockey we want to play.”

Duke made one last-ditch effort to soften the blow of the loss. With less than three minutes left to play, Blue Devil midfielder Josephine Palde weaved through the James Madison defense before passing the ball off to sophomore forward Issy Carey, who shot it past Dukes’ keeper Brandelynn Heinbaugh to bring the score to 4-2.

As the game drew to a close, Duke started to get more chippy in its play as tensions mounted. In the final few minutes, a green card was issued to Palde while senior midfielder Josie Varney earned a yellow card, leading to two Blue Devil players sitting in the penalty box to end the game.

“We’ve got to learn to manage our aggression and not let it become overly aggressive,” Bustin said in response to the penalties.

The Blue Devils have struggled with consistent, full-game performances in their opening matches, leading to periods of solid play followed by lulls that ultimately cost them the victory. After a disappointing 0-2 weekend, Bustin hopes the team can use its experience to create a plan for success moving forward.

“I think frustration is quite high at this moment. It’s a good opportunity for the team to kind of take ownership themselves and regroup,” said Bustin.

Duke will be back in action Friday at 6 p.m. in ACC play as its travels to No. 15 Wake Forest, followed by a Sunday trip to Old Dominion.

Mackenzie Sheehy profile
Mackenzie Sheehy | Blue Zone editor

Mackenzie Sheehy is a Trinity sophomore and Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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