LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After playing to an overtime shootout during the regular season, second-seeded Duke and seventh-seeded Boston College needed overtime again Thursday in the ACC Championship quarterfinals. Sophomore midfielder Margaux Paolino knocked in the game winner four minutes into overtime to lift the Blue Devils (16-2) to the 3-2 victory.
“Boston College is a great team who brings a lot of energy and put a lot of pressure on us,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “They wanted this game and we knew that. I’m really pleased with the way we played. I thought we stayed pretty connected. I think we just have to maintain our composure in different pockets of the game. They changed some things up and I thought we did a good job of countering that.”
The teams combined for just seven shots in the opening half, which saw the Blue Devils go up 2-0 on a pair of Rose Tynan tallies, and the defensive battle continued after the break. Duke’s defensive penalty corner unit defused the Eagles’ first attempt of the day but Boston College was able to break through on the ensuing play. Maddy Dorn converted at the right post to trim the margin to one with 21 minutes remaining.
Momentum stayed with the Eagles, who notched the equalizer on a goal by Carly Kauffman in the 68th minute. The call was upheld following a video review, and despite three consecutive chances for the Blue Devils on penalty corners at the end of regulation, the match remained tied at 2-2.
Duke drew a corner a couple of minutes into overtime and saw Alyssa Chillano’s initial drag turned away by Boston College goalkeeper Sarah Dwyer. Senior Ashley Kristen corralled the rebound off of Dwyer’s pads and Paolino provided the diving finish into the back of the cage to secure the Blue Devils’ spot in Friday’s semifinals.
Tynan and Ainsley Gill propelled the Blue Devils to an early lead, with Tynan finishing on the Gill feed from the baseline less than four minutes in. Tynan notched her team-leading 14th goal of the season on the scoring play.
Duke capitalized again less than five minutes later, as Tynan found her way back to the front of the goal cage and put away a ball from senior Ashley Kristen on the right side of the circle.
“That’s the kind of spark we’ve been working on,” Bustin said of Tynan’s two early scores. “Right out of the gate, sustain it, continue to have that movement on the forward line. We did fall back on that a little bit where we need to keep creating those opportunities.”
The Blue Devils continued to control possession and held Boston College without a shot on goal for the half to carry the 2-0 advantage into the second period.
Duke rounded out the day with a 13-6 advantage in shots, and led in penalty corners, 7-2. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele wrapped up the game with two saves to four by the Eagles’ Dwyer.
The Blue Devils advance to Friday’s semifinals at Louisville’s Trager Stadium, where they will face the third-seeded Cardinals, who advanced with a 3-2 defeat of Syracuse Thursday afternoon. Friday’s semifinal contest will be broadcast on RSN and ACC Network Extra at 2:30 p.m.