CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Despite scoring an equalizing goal in the 42nd minute by junior Devon Gagliardi, the No. 22 Duke Blue Devils (7-11, 0-5) were outlasted by reigning national champion Maryland 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Field Hockey Tournament Thursday.
Maryland started the game in control, possessing the ball and creating a number of early opportunities. Nearly nine minutes into play, the Terrapins (15-4) took the early 1-0 lead with a shot from the top of the circle from senior Megan Frazer. Maryland continued to dominate offensively but the Duke back line, including 2012 All-ACC honoree junior Paula Heimbach, senior Abby Hassinger, junior Grace Christus and freshman Kendra Perrin along with goalkeeper Lauren Blazing was able to keep the Terps from increasing their lead.
"Maryland put it on us in the beginning and we were just absorbing it, head coach Pam Bustin said. "It wasn't until we actually got in control and got a sense of the rhythm of the game, the tempo of the game I guess that we were able to step it up and push it forward. Once we did that it gave us the confidence that we could get at their defense and I think that is something we carried over to the first part of the second half."
In the final six minutes of the half, the Duke offense created several scoring opportunities that included a shot in the 32nd minute from Heimbach that was nearly deflected into the goal by sophomore Jessica Buttinger.
Duke carried its offensive momentum into the second half and eventually evened the score 1-1 in the 42nd minute. Gagliardi picked up her seventh goal of the season with a shot from the top left edge of the circle after a pass from sophomore Abby Beltrani. Beltrani's pass was enough to force Maryland goal keeper Brooke Cabrera out of the goal, leaving it wide open for Gagliardi's shot.
"The goal was beautiful," Bustin commented. "It was exactly the attacking game plan and pattern that we knew could succeed it was just a matter of getting people in the right places and recognizing it at the right times. It is too bad we didn't do that enough."
The Terps snatched the lead again in the 53rd minute off a shot from junior Jill Witmer that soared over the right shoulder of Blazing to make the score 2-1.
The remainder of the second half was a back and forth battle between the two teams with Duke having trouble creating goal scoring opportunities. With less than five minutes to play, Bustin pulled Blazing in an effort to create more of an offensive threat but the Blue Devils were unable to capitalize.
Maryland had one final penalty corner opportunity in the final minute of play but Heimbach made a defensive save towards the end of regulation.
Maryland owned the edge in shots 14-7 and penalty corners 7-4, while Blazing picked up four saves in the defeat.
The Blue Devils closed their season with a 7-11 (0-5 ACC) record. Seniors Mary Nielsen, Chelsea Amsley and Abby Hassinger wrapped up their Duke careers starting all eighteen games this season and picked up 39 wins in their career, including an NCAA quarterfinal appearance in 2011.
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