NORFOLK, Va. - Tied 1-1 with under eight minutes to play, No. 2 Old Dominion registered its second goal of the game and held on for the 2-1 victory over the sixth-ranked Duke field hockey team Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Old Dominion (22-2), which led in shots 9-4 for the game, broke a scoreless tie early in the second half, but Duke was able to tie the game at one-all in the 53rd minute. However, the Lady Monarchs converted their fifth penalty corner of the game to come away with the one-goal victory.
"I thought it was a great match today," said head coach Pam Bustin. "Obviously the intensity is quite high at this point in the season, this point in the NCAA Tournament. I think [Duke and Old Dominion] both play a different style, but they are styles that are compatible to good hockey and lots of running. That's exactly what we got today. It came down to corner execution for both teams. It created a great midfield matchup that came down to who was going to execute the set piece and Old Dominion did that."
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie through the first half of play. Old Dominion held a slight 3-2 advantage in shots for the stanza, and both teams had one penalty corner opportunity in the opening period.
The Lady Monarchs broke through the Duke defense early in the second half to take the 1-0 lead. Old Dominion earned a penalty corner and the Lady Monarchs proceeded to pass along the top of the circle, resulting in a shot from Rebecca Condie. Duke goalkeeper Samantha Nelson, who finished the day with four saves, made the initial stop, but ODU's Kathryn Kirk was there on the far post to tap the ball in for the score.
Despite the deficit, the Blue Devils refused to back down, and Duke was able to tie the score 11 minutes later. Duke earned a penalty corner and did not waste the opportunity as junior Mary Nielsen redirected the shot from senior Rhian Jones into the top right corner of the cage. The goal marked Nielsen's six of the season, a career-high for the Duncan, British Columbia native, while Jones totaled a career-best eight assists this season.
Ten minutes of play did not result in a change in score, but the Lady Monarchs earned a corner late in the second half, which set up the game-winning goal. Old Dominion used several passes off the corner to get Kelsey Smither free on the left side. Smither then passed to Katie Nearhouse on the far post for the goal with 7:20 left in the game.
The Lady Monarchs were able to control possession over the final minutes of the game, and did not allow Duke the opportunity to tie the score.
Duke ends the season with a 14-8 overall record after earning the program's 11th bid to the NCAA Tournament and first since the 2008 season.