The fourth-ranked Blue Devils are on a roll, having won eight straight games. As Duke eyes a program record, the Blue Zone breaks down the keys behind the streak:
There’s no doubt that Duke field hockey has cemented itself as a formidable ACC squad. With their near-pristine record, dramatic rise through the rankings and relentless style of play, the Blue Devils have put up a spectacular showing so far this fall.
Last Sunday’s triumph against William & Mary brought the team to the brink of a record-breaking season. With eight straight victories under its belt, Duke has now tied its longest-ever win streak under head coach Pam Bustin. The team has not dominated the pitch for so long since 2016.
In Friday’s matchup against Virginia, the Blue Devils will attempt to break this record and tie the program’s all-time win streak — set in 2003 — of nine games. If the team finds success in Charlottesville, Va., Sunday’s game against James Madison will offer Duke a chance at its tenth victory and a permanent place in program history.
Several key players have been instrumental in bringing the Blue Devils to this point in their season. Sophomore midfielder and forward Alaina McVeigh has averaged a whopping 2.18 points per game, scoring in nine of the team’s eleven matches. Her team-high 42 shots this season have offered Duke a deadly offensive rigor.
Defense is equally important on the pitch, and senior goalkeeper Piper Hampsch boasts an impressive save percentage of 0.773 — a statistic that jumps to .933 against ACC opponents. The solo shutout against William & Mary, her fourth this season, is a new career best. Alongside sophomore and fellow goalie Abigail Spear, she has not allowed a goal in 137:31.
Even more notable is the Blue Devils’ depth. Eight different players have notched game-winning goals this season. Graduate student Hannah Miller and junior Kira Curland have each put up impressive contributions, scoring totals of 17 and 10 points, respectively. Duke will rely on this diverse pool of talent as it attempts to put this season in the record books.
Few people expected the meteoric rise from the team. Preseason rankings placed Duke at No. 20, but the Blue Devils have steadily clawed their way up to fourth. Individual players have also made a name for themselves: McVeigh currently ranks third in the ACC and 14th nationally in points per game, while Hampsch was named National Defensive Player of the Week earlier in September. If Duke continues to throw down impressive victories, it will be a strong contender for an ACC title.
The Blue Devils’ explosion of success points to an exciting next few games and an equally bright postseason. History will watch Duke field hockey closely this weekend as it attempts to cement its greatness.
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