After falling to No. 1 North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, the Blue Devils went into the NCAA tournament looking for a deep run. With wins over American and Syracuse, Duke field hockey is set to compete in the Final Four. The Blue Zone takes a look at a few players that will be key for the Blue Devils:
The importance of sophomore Alaina McVeigh’s role on the team can be quantified partly in the difference in the team’s production between the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The Landsdale, Pa., native missed her freshmen season as she recovered from an injury, and Duke struggled mightily in her absence, failing to make the NCAA tournament. Since her return to the field this season, she has racked up 17 goals and leads the Blue Devils in points at 37.
McVeigh has driven the offensive production for Duke this season, as she has scored in every game except for eight, including the overtime goal against then-No. 9 Liberty. McVeigh has proven herself to be a vital part of the Blue Devils’ offense and a key scorer when they need it. Strong coverage of McVeigh and stopping her ability to work the ball up the field will be key for Duke’s opponents in the Final Four. For the Blue Devils, they will do everything they can to get McVeigh the ball — since she has proven what she can do with it.
Senior captain Barb Civitella plays a key offensive role for Duke at forward. While not as prolific a goal scorer as McVeigh, Civitella consistently records heavy minutes and has tallied two goals this season, including one in the Blue Devils’ first-round win over American Friday.
Civitella has played 286 minutes this season, with her season-high coming against Syracuse at 29 minutes. As a captain, Civitella plays a key role both on and off the field — as her success is key to Duke’s consistency as it heads deep into the NCAA tournament.
With Northwestern — one of only three teams to beat the Blue Devils in the regular season — Friday, McVeigh and Civitella have the ability to help carry the team and cap off their successful season with a championship.
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