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Duke field hockey splits weekend contests

Devon Gagliardi notched her first career hat trick against the Golden Flashes.
Devon Gagliardi notched her first career hat trick against the Golden Flashes.

The girls are back in town.

With its full roster intact for the first time since Sep. 8, No. 21 Duke (5-7, 0-3 in the ACC) split its weekend at Jack Katz Stadium. The Blue Devils fell to Boston College in a 2-1 game filled with rain delays Friday, before rebounding against Kent State in an offensive 11-2 romp Sunday. Duke had been missing six players, who were playing in Mexico at the Junior Pan-American Games.

Boston College (7-5, 1-2) got on the board first with a goal from sophomore Hannah Nedeau in the 14th minute. As the first half drew to a close, the Blue Devils tied the game with junior Brenna Rescigno’s goal off a penalty corner, assisted by inserter Chelsea Amsley and stopper Paula Heimbach.

Duke’s momentum, however, was stunted by an hour rain delay. Following the delay, only one minute into the second half, freshman Eagle AshLeigh Sebia scored off a penalty corner. The game was delayed again with 28 minutes left in the first half. Although the Blue Devils got back-to-back penalty corners immediately upon resumption, they were unable to convert. Boston College never relinquished its lead, even though Duke outshot the Eagles 15-8 and outnumbered them 9-4 in penalty corners.

“I’m disappointed in the outcome, and I’m actually pretty disappointed in the way we approached the game, especially with the delays,” head coach Pam Bustin said. “We’ve been through it before, and we’re home, and I just think Boston College came out with more energy and a greater will to win the game.”

The Blue Devils, however, bounced back against Kent State (5-8). Duke dominated the Golden Flashes offensively and defensively from the start, going into halftime with a 5-0 lead. The first half was highlighted by the first goals of the season from both sophomore Abby Beltrani and freshman Aileen Johnson.

“We got right at it at practice Saturday [after the Boston College loss], and I think the team definitely took ownership of their distraction,” Bustin said. “They came out and really focused on the hockey and really focused on getting the job done today.”

Duke never gave up its lead, and the team tacked on six more goals in the second half, including two from junior Emmie Le Marchand and sophomore Jessica Buttinger’s first goal since returning from the Pan-American games. The game was particularly special for redshirt junior Devon Gagliardi, who scored three goals for her first career hat trick.

“It’s exciting,” Gagliardi said. “It’s definitely a team effort, though. I give all the credit to my teammates.”

In the end, the Blue Devils outshot the Golden Flashes 30-15 with goals from eight different players.

“We’re really fortunate today that we were able to put it all together for 70 minutes,” Bustin said. “This is the team we are, and this is the team that we want to be. It takes a little time to get everyone’s rhythm on the same page, and I think we’re working towards that. We’re excited about what’s coming down the road.”


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