DURHAM, N.C. – A pair of goals in the final 10 minutes were the difference Sunday afternoon as second-seeded Duke fell to Maryland, 3-2, in the NCAA quarterfinals at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.
Under the direction of head coach Pam Bustin and her coaching staff, the Blue Devils rounded out the season at 17-4 after making the program’s fifth straight appearance in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Duke finished the year with 17 victories for the second time in the past five seasons.
“This season was incredible,” Bustin said. “We have one of the toughest schedules in the country and we play these kinds of games every weekend. This team finds a way. They find a way to improve, they find a way to get it done. They’re a close team that has each other’s back. I couldn’t be more proud of what kind of team this is. That’s why this is so incredibly disappointing. Incredibly disappointing for the seniors who have invested their four years to give themselves this opportunity, to play at home, to be the second seed and to play a great team like Maryland.”
Bustin’s squad was quick out of the gates, as Rose Tynan put the Blue Devils in front just 86 seconds into the contest. The junior forward fired a backhand shot that went off the stick of Maryland goalkeeper Sarah Holliday and into the cage to give Duke the 1-0 advantage and marked the fourth tally in four games for the Auckland, New Zealand native.
The teams traded corners before the Terrapins knotted up the score in the 23rd minute when Madison Maguire found Kyler Greenwalt for a tip-in goal. The score would hold through the end of the half, with shots 4-2 in the Blue Devils’ favor at the intermission.
Senior Ashley Kristen helped put points on the board for the fifth consecutive match, finishing on a feed from classmate Ainsley Gill early in the second period. After receiving a ball from Gill in front of the cage, she turned and fired to make it 2-1, Duke.
Maryland made its comeback rally in the match's waning moments, tallying scores at the 63:24 and 65:14 marks to push ahead of the Blue Devils, 3-2. Duke had a pair of chances late to equalize, first with a penalty corner that led to an Alyssa Chillano shot that was saved and a final attempt by Tynan that went wide of the cage.
“Even the second half was a great match,” Bustin said. “Statistically, we did what we had to do. But we have to finish. We have to take advantage of the many opportunities we had in the circle and take away theirs. They’ve got a drag flicker in [Keus] and she got it on point to even up the score. That changes the vibe of it a little bit. So we have to make sure, in the future, we take care of what we have to on the other end in case something like that – an opportunity for the opponent – comes up again.”
Duke owned the shots battle Sunday, taking 10 to Maryland's six, with eight of those coming on goal. The Blue Devils forced Holliday to make five saves in the contest.
Duke’s senior class of Chillano, Sarah Furey, Gill, Kristen, Alexa Mackintire and Stephanie Pezzuti guided the program to a four-year record of 29-8 and four consecutive NCAA quarterfinals appearances, as well as a trip to the national semifinals in 2015.
“I’m grateful to play with a team like Duke and with a coaching staff like Duke,” Kristen said. “This senior class is a very close class. That’s what makes it tough – playing with your best friends and being so lucky to have such great people to play with.”