DURHAM, N.C. - The sixth-ranked Duke field hockey team will look to close out the regular season on a high note as the Blue Devils travel to Virginia for their final regular season contest Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.
Duke, winner of four straight, enters Saturday with an 11-5 overall record and 2-2 mark in conference action, while Virginia is 7-11 on the season and 0-4 in ACC play.
Last weekend, the Blue Devils shut out their sixth opponent of the season in a 5-0 blanking of Central Michigan Sunday, Oct. 23. Four different Blue Devils netted a goal in the contest, led by sophomore Caashia Karringten with two scores, both assisted by senior Tara Jennings.
Duke's offense, which has seen increased production this season averaging just under 2.5 goals per game, boasts five players who have reached double digit point totals this season. Leading the way is sophomore Emmie Le Marchand, who ranks fifth in the ACC in goals per game average, with a team-best 13 goals and six assists. Juniors Devon Gagliardi and Mary Nielsen along with senior Tara Jennings have all posted career high numbers in 2011 with Gagliardi adding seven goals, while Nielsen and Jennings have contributed five and six goals, respectively.
In addition, the Blue Devils' defense has been key to the team's success this season as Duke ranks second in the ACC and eighth in the country in goals against average, allowing opponents just 1.12 scores per contest.
Virginia dropped a 5-0 decision to ACC foe Wake Forest in its last outing on Oct. 22 as UVa has lost four of its last five contests prior to Saturday's bout with the Blue Devils. Sophomore Elly Buckley leads the Cavaliers with 15 goals and seven assists this season.
Duke and Virginia have a long history, dating back to 1981. UVa leads the all-time series 28-15 and has come away victorious in six consecutive meetings with the Blue Devils. A season ago, the Blue Devils and the Cavaliers met twice in less than a week, including the first round of the ACC Tournament. Virginia won both of last year's contest by a score of 2-1.
Next up, Duke travels to College Park, Md., for the ACC Tournament, which will run Nov. 3-6.