DURHAM, N.C. – A late goal for the visitors was the difference Saturday afternoon at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium, as the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils (9-2, 2-2 ACC) fell to the No. 9 Syracuse Orange (10-3, 2-3 ACC), 2-1.
The Blue Devils jumped out to an early advantage behind a tally by leading scorer Rose Tynan and received eight saves from redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele in a defensive battle with the Orange.
“It was a great game,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “I thought we actually controlled most of the game – just had unfortunate opportunities that we gave to Syracuse on the corners. They were both broken corners, which was something that we take a lot of pride in. So it’s kind of surprising and disappointing that’s the way the goals went in, but they capitalized on those opportunities with some of their key players.”
Duke struck first in the top-10 conference showdown, as senior forward Ashley Kristen slid one around the goalkeeper to Tynan at the back post, who slammed it home to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 advantage. The goal marked Tynan’s 10th of the season, while Kristen picked up her team-leading fourth assist of the year.
Syracuse responded nearly 12 minutes later, as the Orange scored off a rebound off the goalie's pads to even the contest, sending both sides into halftime with the score 1-1.
The second half started as a defensive battle, with each side getting a number of shots with no result. The Orange broke through with a score at the 63:12 mark to take a 2-1 lead. Duke earned a dangerous chance late in the contest, as the Blue Devils drew a penalty stroke for senior midfielder Alexa Mackintire. Syracuse goalkeeper Borg van der Velde was able to make the save to keep the lead intact and held off a furious Duke attack to take the match, 2-1.
Syracuse owned the shots battle on the day, 13-9 and led in penalty corners, 5-1.
“We have to keep our heads up and be really played of the hockey game we played today,” Bustin said. “Holding our own and taking care of what we had to take care of as far as our game, and continuing to improve our game of field hockey – moving the ball and working together defensively. I thought the team did an exceptional job of that today. We didn’t, however, capitalize on our own opportunities, which is, again, surprising and it happens. It’s something that we have to be happy that we created opportunities and continue to do that, but then lock in to finish them.”
The Blue Devils will be back at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium Sunday to face No. 23 Iowa at 12 p.m. The non-conference matchup will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.