WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Blue Devils fell to Wake Forest 3-2 in a three and a half hour double-overtime match in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Saturday afternoon. Duke owned the lead 2-0 going into halftime with goals coming from senior Mary Nielsen and sophomore Jessica Buttinger but was unable to maintain it in the second half of the game.
"I thought we played well enough to win today's game, head coach Pam Bustin commented. "Our first half was outstanding and we were able to capitalize on two of our multiple scoring chances. We knew Wake would come out on fire second half, we managed it well as a group, but individually at times we lost our focus, forgot about our task. Wake took advantage of the opportunities we gave them, and knotted the match at two."
The first thirty minutes of the game left both sides scoreless, battling back and forth with both teams looking for open shots.
Duke was the first team to break the drought after junior Emmie Le Marchand made a great hustle play and chased down a loose ball in the right corner of the field. After dribbling around several Wake Forest defenders, she made a quick pass to Nielsen, who was set up right in front of the goal, and was able to punch the ball into the goal. The goal marks the Duncan, British Columbia native's first of the season and twelfth at Duke.
Quickly after the Blue Devil's first score, with just under a minute to play in the half, sophomore Abby Beltrani passed the ball into fellow sophomore Buttinger who was planted near the right goal post. Buttinger then popped the ball high over the goalie and into the back of the cage. The score marks the Waterloo, Ontario native's third goal of the 2012 season and her tenth as a Blue Devil.
In the second half, Wake Forest put their first point on the board with 20 minutes to play in regulation. The score came off a penalty corner where junior Jess McFadyen inserted the ball and moments later scored from the left side.
With under six minutes to play, Wake Forest scored again to tie the game 2-2 with another Jess McFadyen score. The goal was scored off a similar play to her first; a corner where she served as the inserter and was given a quick pass back for the score. Following the score, both teams battled hard but were unable to score, resulting in overtime.
Less than five minutes into overtime, thunder and lightning caused a weather delay which sent both teams into their locker rooms. Upon returning, Duke stifled a tough offensive attack from Wake Forest while playing a man down in the seven-on-seven competition. Towards the end of the period, Duke had four corner opportunities in a row but was unable to convert.
During the second overtime, both teams battled hard exchanging possessions. With 3:50 left, Wake Forest drove down the field and scored off a shot from junior Kari Walkley shot from the left side of the circle.
"I am extremely proud of the way the team executed our man down overtime game plan. Not only did we sustain control and shut down some threatening situations, we created our own scoring chances. It was unfortunate that we were unable to convert on our attack penalty corners in the second overtime."
The Blue Devil's edged the Demon Deacons in the penalty corner column 10-9 but were edged out in shots 19-15. Le Marchand led all players with five shots on the day. Sophomore goal keeper Lauren Blazing made eight saves during the extended match-up.
"All in all, it was a great battle, a great game. We again can take many, many positives and apply to our next match, as well as sharpen up areas of our collective and individual game(s). Duke continues to become a stronger, smarter, better team."
The Blue Devils will return home Sunday, September 9, to face the eleventh ranked Northwestern Wildcats. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. Live video and stats will be available on www.GoDuke.com.