DURHAM, N.C. – Solid defensive play and a late goal from junior forward Jessica Buttinger lifted the ninth-ranked Duke field hockey team to a 1-0 shutout of No. 15 Old Dominion Sunday, Sept. 15 at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. The Blue Devils moved to 5-1 with the decision while picking up their second victory of the year over a ranked opponent.
“It was a great battle,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “[Old Dominion is] a fantastic team and it was just a matter of that one goal, who it was going to be. I was really proud of our team to stay on task and they kept their composure as the clock was winding down. I think they were able to come together as a team and really keep the ball on our attacking end.”
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing matched a career high with eight saves, anchoring the Duke defense to its second shutout of the 2013 campaign. Old Dominion (1-5) outshot the Blue Devils by a 15-10 margin and led in penalty corners, 9-4, but it was the Blue Devils who were able to capitalize on a late scoring opportunity to tally their third consecutive win.
Both teams pushed the pace of the game from the opening whistle and a defensive battle quickly emerged. Duke’s backline staved off a number of scoring threats by the Monarchs, who fired four shots in the first half of the period. Each squad earned a penalty corner within the final five minutes of the opening stanza, but saves by Blazing and Old Dominion’s Megan Hept kept the score knotted 0-0 heading into the break.
The Monarchs had three penalty corner opportunities to start the second half, but the Blue Devil defense continued to cut off looks at the goal. Old Dominion’s defense held up on the other end through a pair of Duke corners before Buttinger knocked in the gamewinner in the 65th minute on a feed from junior midfielder Abby Beltrani. The 1-0 score would stand for the remaining five minutes of action, sending the Blue Devils to 4-0 on their home turf.
“I feel like in our history when we play against them, we both bring our ‘a’ games and it’s always a tough battle,” Buttinger said. “They’re an amazing opponent, so it feels pretty good to get the win.”
Buttinger’s goal marked her second of the season, while Beltrani continues to lead Duke in the assists category with four this year. Meanwhile, with the shutout, the Blue Devil defense moved its goals allowed average to just 1.09 per contest.
“You never know how many opportunities you’re going to get in a game,” Bustin said. “For us, we’ve had games where we’ve had more than our share. So today we had to make the ones we did have count. Again, I was really proud that they stayed on it and didn’t get flustered with the opportunities and found a way to finish.”
Duke continues its homestand next weekend, hosting Northwestern Friday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. and Radford Sunday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. in a pair of non-conference matches. Both games will be streamed live on GoDuke.com Inside Access.