WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The second-ranked Duke field hockey team blanked William & Mary, 5-0, Friday in the teams’ season opener at Busch Field.
Leading by a 1-0 margin after 35 minutes of action, the Blue Devils tallied four second-half scores, including a pair by junior forward Rose Tynan, to start the season 1-0 for the fifth straight year. Head coach Pam Bustin’s squad picked up a shutout in its opening match, with a strong defensive effort limiting the Tribe to just two shots on goal for the evening.
“William & Mary is a good team and a very dangerous team,” Bustin said. “We were able to keep our composure. We attacked with the whole team. I think when you attack for 80 yards and involve everybody, it helps keep your defensive structure intact. I was really pleased with that … It’s important to get the first game out and now we’re in the rhythm. It was a very good, competitive game and I think we can definitely build on the things that happened tonight.”
The Blue Devils generated 10 shots inside the first 25 minutes but seven saves by the Tribe – including a pair of defensive saves – kept the match scoreless deep into the opening period. Senior back Alyssa Chillano made good on Duke’s fifth penalty corner, putting away the squad’s first goal of the 2017 campaign on assists by senior Ashley Kristen and sophomore Margaux Paolino.
Behind the Chillano strike in the 32nd minute, the Blue Devils took a 1-0 advantage into the intermission.
“The first half we were moving the ball great, our structure was great,” Bustin said. “It was just that final piece, whether it was a final basic skill that had to be there or a final run that had to be there, they were just missing it. I was really pleased with the hockey. We had our chances … I was really proud that the team stayed on it. It was a matter of regrouping at halftime and focusing on the finish.”
Duke made it 2-0 just minutes into the second half, as Kristen finished at the front of the cage on a cross from senior forward Ainsley Gill. Momentum remained on the Blue Devils’ attacking end, with Tynan rocketing a backhand shot into the William & Mary cage less than three minutes later.
For the contest, the Blue Devils outshot William & Mary 24-6 and totaled eight penalty corners to two by the Tribe. Redshirt sophomore Sammi Steele accounted for one save and sophomore back Jillian Wolgemuth added a defensive save in the shutout effort.
“It was a full team effort,” Chillano said of the shutout. “Our press was really strong. It included all our lines – we were all connected. And I think the intercepting and staying strong on the ball really helped our defense tonight.”
Duke returns to action next weekend, traveling to the home of USA Field Hockey in Lancaster, Pa., for the B1G/ACC Cup. The Blue Devils face Maryland Friday, Sept. 1 and 7 p.m., and Northwestern Sunday, Sept. 3 at 11 a.m.