Scoring was quick and natural for Duke. And then it wasn’t.
On Friday evening, No. 4 Duke hosted Wake Forest at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium for the Blue Devils’ third ACC matchup this season. The Blue Devils displayed a relentless offensive showing, playing with urgency from the whistle and beating the Demon Deacons 3-0. Sunday’s match against William and Mary did not replicate Friday’s offensive dominance, but Duke exited Williamsburg, Va., with a 1-0 victory and having augmented its win streak to eight games.
“It is always important for us to come out with the energy that we want to compete with,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “We definitely did that on Friday. And we got some results from it early.”
The Blue Devils (10-1, 3-0 in the ACC) attacked their opponent’s net from the start, having six penalty corners in the first 10 minutes of the game. Finally, on Duke’s sixth corner, sophomore forward Alaina McVeigh capitalized on the opportunity and sunk one into the net off a redirect. McVeigh’s goal against Wake Forest (4-5, 0-2) was her 11th of the season, making her the ACC’s leading scorer.
“[McVeigh has] done a wonderful job in working herself to be available to get the ball. And that’s what you want from your frontline people. They know how to create opportunity,” Bustin said.
But Duke’s victory was a team effort. The Blue Devils rotated and shifted the rock across the field all game to create consistent scoring opportunities throughout the matchup, keeping possession in Wake Forest’s half. They turned defense into offense and moved the ball as a unit. Every player represented a unique mechanism in the Duke field hockey machine.
“There’s just a shared respect amongst the team with opportunities and who’s capable of doing what,” Bustin said. “I think as we get moving into the season more, the strengths of each of our players get more predominant. And so you start celebrating those strengths, and you know when to use each player’s strengths.”
The final two goals from Duke were similarly team-oriented, both coming from put-backs following Demon Deacon saves. Junior midfielder Kira Curland’s quick reflexes allowed her to redirect a stop and put the Blue Devils up by two goals in the second quarter. Finally, senior midfielder Charlie van Oirschot inserted the dagger, batting in a deflection following a penalty corner.
As the Wake Forest offense appeared to be heating up toward the beginning of the second half, Duke’s back line was able to hold off all Demon Deacon scoring chances. Senior goalkeeper Piper Hampsch completed three saves in the game and registered her fourth shutout of the season.
Sunday’s match against William and Mary, on the other hand, presented few set piece scoring opportunities on each end, and both teams were only awarded two penalty corners the entire match.
The Tribe (4-5, 3-0 in the CAA) was able to contain the natural ball movement that the Blue Devils displayed Friday, limiting Duke’s shots of goal.
“William and Mary played a very good defensive game,” Bustin said. “They disrupted a lot of our play. They kept numbers below the ball, and they doubled and triple teamed our ball carriers.”
One shot did fall for Duke, though. After three quarters of development leading to no result, junior midfielder Josephine Palde was able to sneak one in to gain her first goal of the season.
“I think it was a great attribute of our team today to just stay in it, not to panic,” Bustin said. “Just keep on grinding until they had their opportunities, and we were able to capitalize on one of them … We’re a very selfless team when it comes to scoring goals and winning, we do it together. So I think everybody was really excited for JP and putting that ball in there. And hopefully it does add to her excitement and confidence moving forward.”
Duke will next travel to Charlottesville, Va., Friday to take on Virginia.
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