DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele was selected the Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I Defensive Player of the Week and the Duke Student-Athlete of the Week Wednesday after guiding Duke to two shutouts at the B1G/ACC Cup.
Steele, who has yet to surrender a goal in the 2017 campaign, anchored the Blue Devils’ strong defensive performances in a 2-0 defeat of No. 6 Maryland and a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Northwestern over the weekend in Lancaster, Pa. With the wins, Duke went unbeaten at the B1G/ACC Cup, held at the home of USA Field Hockey, 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 the Blue Devils’ 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 Duke 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.
Steele garnered the national Defensive Player of the Week accolade from the NFHCA for the second time in her career.
Steele and the Blue Devils returned to No. 1 in this week’s Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I Coaches Poll after spending the final three weeks of the 2016 campaign at the top spot. The squad travels to No. 10 Virginia Friday at 5 p.m. and No. 15 James Madison Sunday at 1 p.m.