DURHAM, N.C. – The second-ranked Blue Devils rebounded from a tough loss Saturday to earn a 4-2 victory over No. 23 Iowa Sunday in non-conference action at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. Junior forward Erin Scherrer turned in a career-high two goals to highlight a strong offensive showing.
With the win, Duke improved to 10-2 overall and remained unbeaten this season against non-conference opponents at 8-0.
“It was important for us to have to take care of the emotional letdown from yesterday, to turn around and play a very good team today,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “Overall, we did a great job. They came and they brought the energy. Definitely in the first half we created dominating opportunities. I think we just have to lock in on finishing them.”
The Blue Devils attacked the circle from the opening whistle, racking up 17 shots in the first half to just two by the Hawkeyes. A series of Duke penalty corners in the 28th minute set up a penalty stroke, as Iowa was called for an infraction on defense. Senior back Alyssa Chillano took the stroke, sending the ball past Iowa goalkeeper Katie Jones to the top of the net.
Sophomore midfielder Haley Schleicher tacked on a goal less than five minutes later, putting away a rebound to send the Blue Devils into halftime up, 2-0.
“We were getting a little bit frustrated that we weren’t able to score and execute on a lot of those [early shots], Scherrer said. “That was the problem with the Syracuse game as well. But I think we were just like, ‘It’s going to go in, it’s going to go in.’ You just have to keep creating opportunities. You’ve just got to keep beating at it and it’s going to go in and we had some opportunities.”
Iowa opened the second half by capitalizing on its first penalty corner of the afternoon, with Sophie Sunderland finding the back of the boards at the 42:34 mark. The Blue Devils countered soon after on a corner of their own, as Chillano found Scherrer with a ball at the front post to make it 3-1.
The flurry of scoring continued in the 51st minute, when the Hawkeyes’ Nikki Freeman dove to get her stick on a corner strike by teammate Lucie Daman. Duke was once again able to provide an answer, as Scherrer drove her way around the Iowa back line for her second tally of the day and fifth in the last five games.
“She’s just getting more and more confidence and getting smarter with her play and smarter with the ball,” said Bustin of Scherrer. “It’s fun to see her grow into that role.”
The Blue Devil defense fought off a late charge by the Hawkeyes that included three Iowa corners inside the final two minutes of action. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele made all four of her saves in the second half while the Hawkeyes’ Jones finished with eight stops.
For the contest, Duke held a 21-12 advantage in shots while corners were even at seven apiece.
Duke returns to Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium for two more contests next weekend, hosting Wake Forest Friday at 6 p.m. and Miami Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.