DURHAM, N.C. – Following an appearance in the ACC Championship semifinals last week, the Duke field hockey team jumped three spots to No. 5 in the final 2013 Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll, released by the organization Tuesday, Nov. 12.
The No. 5 ranking is the highest this season for head coach Pam Bustin’s squad, which owns a record of 14-6 heading into the NCAA Championship First and Second Rounds. The Blue Devils were selected the No. 4 seed in the upcoming tournament and will host regional action at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium this weekend, facing New Hampshire in the first round Saturday, Nov. 16 at 11:30 a.m.
The team is coming off of a trip to the ACC Championship last weekend in Newton, Mass. As the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament, Duke topped No. 5 seed Virginia by a 2-1 score in the quarterfinals before falling to top-seeded and eventual champion Maryland in overtime, 3-2.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing and senior forward Emmie Le Marchand were both named to the ACC All-Tournament team while also joining teammates Paula Heimbach and Aileen Johnson in receiving All-ACC recognition.
Le Marchand paces the Blue Devils with 34 points (12g, 10a) and currently ranks seventh in the ACC in points per game and goals per game. The Worcester, England native is also tied for sixth in the league in assists per game while junior midfielder Abby Beltrani is 10th in the same category.
Now a two-time All-ACC selection, Heimbach has anchored Duke’s back line to four shutouts and a 1.48 goals against average. Blazing has had a breakout season in goal, totaling an ACC-best 120 saves in 20 outings. A product of Durham, N.C., she is second in the conference and seventh nationally in save percentage with a .795 clip.
Saturday’s first round action in Durham features the Blue Devils and New Hampshire at 11:30 a.m., followed by a matchup between Virginia and Massachusetts at 2 p.m. The two winning teams will square off Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. to determine the squad that advances to the national semifinals Friday, Nov. 22 at the L.R. Hill Complex in Norfolk, Va.