UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman Emmie Le Marchand registered her team-leading eighth goal of the season, but the 17th-ranked Duke field hockey team was unable to knock off No. 11 Penn State Saturday afternoon at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. Duke falls to 8-9 (0-4 ACC), while Penn State moves to 11-4 (3-2 Big Ten) with the win.
"I think we came out slow," head coach Beth Bozman said. "[Penn State] is a really aggressive team. We didn't execute too well in the opening stanza, but we played a really strong second half and had a lot of opportunities, we just didn't capitalize."
The Nittany Lions opened the scoring eight minutes in with a goal from Jenny Purvis to take an early 1-0 lead. Penn State led Duke 7-2 in shots for the first half, although the Blue Devils held a 4-0 advantage in penalty corners for the opening frame as the Nittany Lions took the 1-0 lead into halftime.
Duke stepped up the offensive pressure in the second frame with four shots to Penn State's two. However, the Nittany Lions capitalized on an opportunity at the 43:31 mark to extend their advantage to 2-0 early in the second half.
Despite the deficit, Duke continued to fight and its efforts paid off in the 52nd minute. Sophomore Devon Gagliardi found Le Marchand on the left side of the cage and the rookie from Worcester, England converted the chance into her eighth goal this season. But Penn State's 2-0 advantage would ultimately hold up as the Nittany Lions hung on down the stretch for the one-goal victory.
Senior goalkeeper Samantha Nelson made three saves on the day, while Penn State goalkeeper Ayla Halus also stopped three shots. For the game, Penn State outshot Duke 9-6, while the Blue Devils held an 8-3 advantage in penalty corners.
Duke concludes the regular season Saturday, Oct. 30 at home against No. 3 Virginia with game time scheduled for 1 p.m. from Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.