DURHAM, N.C. – The second-ranked Duke field hockey team posted its sixth shutout of the season Sunday in 2-0 victory over Miami University. The Blue Devils improved to 12-2 overall and 9-0 against non-conference opponents on the strength of second-half goals by junior Rose Tynan and senior Ashley Kristen.
“It was a goal for us today to sustain our attack and try to build up our attack with numbers and to keep the possession game going to really open up opportunities,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “We did that – with 29 shots on the day is pretty good. Still need to do our finishing and our connecting in the circle. I thought we did a better job second half getting around the goalkeeper.”
The teams played through a scoreless first half, though Duke knocked on the door several times with 12 shots and three penalty corners in the opening 35 minutes.
“[Miami] was playing a good fall away below the 50 and then the 25,” Bustin said. “That was a challenge for us. We have to stay alert and be aware that when the ball was coming out, that we knew where their outlets were and that we could shut it down.”
After beginning the second half on the offensive, the Blue Devils broke through in the 38th minute on Tynan’s 11th tally of the season. The junior forward worked her way around Miami goalkeeper Maddie Passarella after senior Sarah Furey drove into the circle.
The flurry of Duke shots continued and, despite a strong performance by the RedHawks' Passarella, resulted in a second goal for the home squad just over five minutes later. Kristen provided a diving finish at the front of the cage on a feed from junior midfielder Morgan Bitting, extending the Blue Devils’ lead to 2-0.
“It was obviously frustrating in the first half,” Tynan said. “We had a lot of shots and opportunities, and we weren’t putting them away. So it was a matter of perseverance in the circle. Both of the goals weren’t open shots from the top. It was working through and keeping on pushing.”
Miami generated its best scoring opportunities of the contest inside the final 10 minutes, as a penalty corner set up a shot by the RedHawks’ Leonor Berlie that was initially turned away by Duke goalkeeper Sammi Steele and kept from going over the goal line by senior back Alyssa Chillano. Steele came up with two critical stops on another Miami corner in the 68th minute, preserving the shutout for the Blue Devils.
“We always focus on defense and try to make it a team effort,” Kristen said. “We had great defense at some points, and then other points we have to stay strong and keep going. But we work to have defense as a team.”
On the day, Duke outshot the visitors by a 28-5 margin and totaled five penalty corners to four opportunities by the RedHawks.
Passarella made nine second-half saves to finish with 14 for the contest while Steele had three on the other end.
Duke rounds out regular season ACC action next Friday, taking on North Carolina at 6 p.m. at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. The squad then travels to Liberty next Sunday for a 1 p.m. non-conference tilt.