DURHAM, N.C. – Three days after kicking off its preseason training, the Duke field hockey team underwent its first test against another opponent, welcoming Davidson to Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium for exhibition play Sunday, Aug. 17.
The two North Carolina teams scrimmaged in three periods of 20-minute intervals in addition to a 10-minute overtime period and three rounds of shootouts.
“I’m really grateful that Davidson came over to scrimmage us today,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “We were able to put a lot of the practice exercises we’ve had within ourselves out against another opponent, full-field, with the excitement and the structure of a real game. So that’s priceless.”
The Blue Devils opened the exhibition contest by recording six penalty corners and eight shots in the first 20 minutes of play. On the day, Duke earned 10 penalty corners to two by the Wildcats and outshot Davidson, 28-5.
The Duke defense, anchored by goalkeepers Lauren Blazing and Kelsey Wagner, held Davidson without a shot until the second period. Both goalkeepers notched one save each while the Wildcats’ Emily Leytham and Connie Cape combined for nine stops.
Among the Blue Devils’ goalscorers on the afternoon were senior Abby Beltrani, juniors Hannah Barreca, Aileen Johnson and Sarah Urdahl, sophomores Hunter Bracale and Heather Morris and freshman Ashley Kristen.
The squad also excelled in the shootouts at the end of the contest, with Blazing going unscored upon in two rounds.
“We were able to see some things, players at different positions,” Bustin said. “We’re still trying to find out where our strengths are and what formation that would be. I thought today, with the three 20-minute periods, we were able to shift up our structure and our formations to get a glimpse of that. Definitely some things for us to work on individually, some things for us to work on as a team, but overall I’m really pleased with how we approached today and what we got out of it.”
Duke continues exhibition play next Sunday, Aug. 24 in a 1 p.m. contest against ACC opponent North Carolina at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. The Blue Devils officially open the season Friday, Aug. 29 at Michigan State.#GoDuke