DURHAM, N.C. – The fourth-seeded Blue Devils saw their NCAA Championship run come to an end after 82 minutes of gritty field hockey, suffering a 1-0 double overtime setback to Wake Forest in Sunday’s quarterfinals at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.
Head coach Pam Bustin’s squad concluded the 2018 campaign at 16-6 and ranked third in the country after earning the program’s sixth consecutive trip to the tournament’s quarterfinal round.
“We played an incredible game today,” Bustin said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the type of field hockey we played, the changes we’ve made, the way we were able to contain their threats and put on attack. We had 15 shots, which is incredible. We only gave up one corner, which is what got us the last time with them. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Duke came out on the attack, jumping out to a 6-0 advantage in shots in the contest’s opening 20 minutes. The Blue Devils were able to contain Wake Forest senior forward Jule Grashoff and the Deacons’ offensive unit, limiting the visitors to just one shot in the first half.
Despite the Blue Devils holding an advantage in possession, the game remained scoreless at the intermission.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Sammi Steele made two of her three saves on the day in the second period, coming out of the cage to cut off a drive by Wake Forest’s Kelsey Gill and making a diving stop on a penalty corner attempt by the Deacons. However, the stalemate continued through the end of regulation, forcing overtime.
Duke drove into the scoring circle several times in the first overtime period, generating six shots and one corner opportunity. Wake Forest goalkeeper Isla Bint came up with a pair of critical stops that kept the Blue Devils off the board.
The Deacons capitalized in the second overtime period, with Anne van Hoof scoring the game winner in the 83rd minute.
“It’s a tough day for the Blue Devils, who, in my opinion, put themselves in a position to earn the win,” Bustin said. “Congratulations to Wake Forest and I wish them and the ACC the best in the final four.”
The Blue Devils totaled 15 shots for the contest to five by the Deacons (13-9) and surrendered just one penalty corner while earning four of their own. Senior Rose Tynan and junior Margaux Paolino led Duke’s attack with five shots each.
Duke’s senior class of Caroline Andretta, Morgan Bitting, Tessa Gote, Christy Palazzese, Erin Scherrer and Tynan guided the program to a four-year record of 63-21 and four straight NCAA quarterfinals appearances, including a trip to the national semifinals in 2015.
“For a team that had to really come together in January and make things happen, and after losing six influential seniors from last year – five starters – I couldn’t be more proud of the senior leadership, of the whole team making the changes they needed to to help us become the team that we are today,” Bustin said.