PRINCETON, N.J. – The 10th-ranked Blue Devils received a late goal from senior forward Emmie Le Marchand but ultimately fell to third-ranked Princeton in a showdown of top-10 teams Friday evening at the Tigers’ Bedford Field. The 3-1 setback to the reigning national champions marked Duke’s first loss of the season, sending the squad to 2-1 on the fall.
Both teams posted 10 shots for the match, with the Blue Devils placing eight shots on goal to Princeton’s seven. Duke held a slight edge in penalty corners at 5-4, generating its lone goal off of a corner opportunity late in the second half.
“This was just a real even match with Princeton being able to finish on their opportunities,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “I think we handled the challenge really well. There were times we had really great control of the game and great opportunities in the attacking end … We can take away a lot of confidence knowing that so early in the season we were able to play such a high level of hockey.”
The Tigers took advantage of their second penalty corner, striking in the 10th minute on a pass inside from Teresa Benvenuti to Michelle Cesan. Duke would get several opportunities of its own on the offensive end of the field before the end of the half, earning two corners, but the score remained 1-0 in Princeton’s favor at intermission.
The defensive battle continued into the second half, with the Blue Devils thwarting several scoring threats by Princeton. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing helped keep the Tigers off the board for nearly 40 minutes following the first goal, making a critical one-on-one stick save and anchoring the defense to several successful clears.
Despite the strong defensive effort, Princeton broke through for its second score in the 51st minute, as Hailey Reeves deflected in a cross from Allison Evans to put the Tigers up by two. Duke answered a short while later on a penalty corner opportunity, as senior Brenna Rescigno found an unmarked Le Marchand by the back post to cut Princeton’s lead to 2-1 with just over seven minutes remaining.
“Emmie definitely has a nose for the goal,” Bustin said. “Every team needs somebody who has the will and desire to score. We just need to keep feeding her and help her get in a position to score.”
The Blue Devil offense pushed the pace the rest of the way, looking for the equalizer. However a goal by the Tigers’ Julia Reinprecht on an empty cage with five minutes to go wrapped up the 3-1 contest.
Blazing finished the match with four saves against 10 shots while Princeton’s Christina Maida tallied seven saves in the Tigers’ season opener.
Duke continues its road trip in New Jersey Sunday, Sept. 8 with a 1 p.m. tilt against Rutgers in Piscataway. Live stats will be available for that game.
- Senior forward Emmie Le Marchand’s goal in Friday’s contest pushed her career points total to 98. She stands to become the 11th player in program history to top the century mark for her career.