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Duke Ready for Key Non-Conference Games
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/14/2010
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Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke field hockey team, ranked No. 16 in the latest Kookaburra/NFHCA Coaches poll, will travel to Virginia this weekend for key non-conference games against William and Mary and No. 19 Old Dominion. The Blue Devils first take on William and Mary Friday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in Williamsburg, before traveling to Norfolk for a 1 p.m. rematch with Old Dominion on Sunday, Oct. 17.

Duke (6-8, 0-4 ACC) looks to rebound from a tough road trip last weekend, which saw the Blue Devils drop 3-1 decisions at both No. 2 Maryland and No. 9 American. Freshman Emmie Le Marchand tallied her team-leading fifth goal of the season Saturday versus Maryland, but the Terrapins survived a late Duke threat to hang on for the win. Senior goalkeeper Samantha Nelson turned in a solid performance, making a season-high nine saves on the afternoon.

Against the Eagles Sunday, sophomore Devon Gagliardi picked up her first goal of the season, but Duke was unable to overcome and early 2-0 American lead, eventually falling 3-1.

On the year, Le Marchand leads Duke in both goals (5) and points (11), while senior Susan Ferger has registered three goals in 10 games this season. Freshman Caashia Karringten (2g, 1a) and junior Tara Jennings (1g, 3a) tie for third on the squad with five points each heading into the final four games of the season. In goal, Nelson has anchored the Duke defense, ranking second in the ACC with 55 saves. In addition, the Rockville, Md., native ranks third in the conference in shutouts (4), goals against average (1.64) and save percentage (.743).

After dropping consecutive, 3-0 losses to Hofstra and Drexel, the William and Mary Tribe enter Friday's contest with a 3-10 overall record (1-4 CAA). The Tribe, led by Ashley Kyle with three goals and an assist, have lost seven of its last eight contests heading into the weekend. The Blue Devils have registered a 20-7-1 mark against William & Mary in the all-time series and have not lost to the Tribe since 2001, a stretch of eight consecutive wins.

Sunday's game will pit Duke against a familiar foe in No. 19 Old Dominion as the two teams squared off earlier this season in Durham. The Monarchs emerged victorious in that first meeting on Sept. 19, claiming the 2-1 win. Old Dominion began the year 1-6, but the Monarchs have won six of their last seven games to improve to 7-7 (4-1 CAA) overall. Loren Hatch leads Old Dominion with 14 goals and two assists for the season, while Paige Clutter (3g, 14a) and Alyschia Conn (1g, 11a) have both reached double figure point totals.

Duke will conclude the road portion of its schedule next Saturday, Oct. 23, with a trip to University Park, Pa., to take on No. 11 Penn State. The Blue Devils then return home for the final game of the regular season against No. 3 Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 30.