SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Senior forward Erin Scherrer notched a career-best three goals in a 6-3 defeat of No. 14 Saint Joseph’s Sunday at Syracuse’s J.S. Coyne Stadium.
Two of Scherrer’s three tallies came in the second half as the fourth-ranked Blue Devils wrapped up a 2-0, weather-impacted weekend in Syracuse to improve to 6-2 overall.
“We said if we were going to make this trip on a bus for five days, we were going to try to get the finish and really lock in – not only to the finish, but to our performance,” said head coach Pam Bustin.
The Blue Devils opened the contest with one of goalkeeper Sammi Steele’s four saves before senior Caroline Andretta tallied her third goal in as many games. Andretta’s score in the eighth minute gave Duke the upper hand early. Senior teammate Scherrer quickly followed suit, firing a rebound into the back of the cage for her first goal of the season.
Saint Joseph’s cut into Duke’s 2-0 lead on a diving finish by Tonya Botherway in the 27th minute, making it a 2-1 contest at the half. The Blue Devils held a 12-7 advantage in shots at the intermission.
Andretta put the margin back at two less than a minute into the second half, tapping in a pass from junior midfielder Margaux Paolino at the front of the cage. Five minutes later, Scherrer pushed a ball from Lily Posternak across the goal line, extending Duke’s advantage to 4-1.
Senior forward Rose Tynan joined the scoring in the 54th minute, sending a backhand into the cage on a Scherrer assist.
The Hawks broke through on a penalty corner in the 58th minute before Scherrer responded with her third tally on a Blue Devil corner opportunity.
Saint Joseph’s Sara Hayes added a final goal in the closing minutes to round out the high-scoring affair.
Duke outshot the Hawks, 21-12, on the afternoon while Saint Joseph’s held a narrow 5-4 edge in penalty corners.
“Erin’s energy and her change of speed are awesome,” Bustin said. “We definitely wanted to focus on our finish. If we could still create the attack we had created on Friday but with the emphasis of cleaning up how we finish in the circle. I’m really pleased with the way we made those changes.”
Scherrer’s seven points marked the most by a Blue Devil since Heather Morris registered eight against James Madison Sept. 11, 2016. In addition, the six-goal output was the most by a Duke squad since the program dispatched Richmond by a 6-0 score Oct. 29, 2016.
“We just needed to play Duke’s game and come out hard from Syracuse because we played really well and pressured them,” Scherrer said. “Against Syracuse we had a lot of shots on cage and only finished on one, so it was a big goal for today to have the same amount of shots but finish them. I think we did that successfully. It was bringing that energy from Syracuse into today’s game.”
Steele recorded four saves in just over 67 minutes of action before Lydia Smeltz entered to notch one save. The Hawks’ Victoria Kammerinke totaled nine stops on the other end.
Following a six-game road stretch, the Blue Devils return home to Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium next weekend. Duke hosts top-ranked North Carolina Friday at 6 p.m. and welcomes James Madison Sunday at 1 p.m. Both contests will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. The weekend also marks the program’s Reunion Weekend.