DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week Tuesday after leading the Blue Devils to a pair of shutouts over the weekend at the B1G/ACC Cup.
Steele, who has yet to surrender a goal in the 2017 campaign, anchored Duke’s strong defensive performances in a 2-0 defeat of No. 6 Maryland and a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Northwestern. With the wins, the Blue Devils went unbeaten at the B1G/ACC Cup, held at the home of USA Field Hockey in Lancaster, Pa., for the third consecutive year.
In Friday’s shutout of the Terrapins, Steele turned away both of Maryland’s looks on cage. She was solid again Sunday against the Wildcats, totaling six saves against six shots on goal. Along with Duke’s defensive penalty corner unit, Steele weathered six second-half corner opportunities by Northwestern to protect the one-goal lead.
The six saves Sunday marked a season high for Steele, who has guided the Blue Devils to three straight shutouts to open the season for the first time since 1991. In addition to holding opponents scoreless in 210 minutes of action, Steele owns a 1.000 save percentage against 22 total shots. She is tied for first in the country in goals against average (0.00), save percentage and goalie win-loss percentage.
Following the B1G/ACC Cup wins over Maryland and Northwestern, Duke jumped one spot to No. 1 in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Coaches Poll released Tuesday. The Blue Devils reached No. 1 in the national rankings for the second time in program history after taking the top spot in the NFHCA poll during the final three weeks of the 2016 campaign.
Duke is back in action Friday, opening ACC play at Virginia in a 5 p.m. matchup at the Cavaliers’ Turf Field in Charlottesville. The contest will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.