LYNCHBURG, Va. – A backhand goal by junior forward Rose Tynan sealed a 4-3 overtime victory for second-ranked Duke Sunday at Liberty. The Blue Devils pushed past the Flames following 74 minutes of action to collect their second overtime win of the season.
Head coach Pam Bustin’s squad also picked up a crucial regional victory on the road to improve to 14-2 for the year.
“We have to just stay within ourselves,” Bustin said. “When we’re under the pressure or things don’t go your way right away, that we go back to what we know and we go back to who we are and our strengths. There were times we did that. We had some great chances, dominated some great attacking play, drew the corners that we’ve been working on … Our attack was great. And having that overtime experience at this point in the season hopefully helps.”
Leading 2-1 at the intermission, the Blue Devils widened the margin early in the second half on a converted penalty stroke by senior midfielder Alexa Mackintire. Liberty got one back in the 42nd minute, and after Duke was unable to break through on a series of five consecutive penalty corners, scored again 13 minutes later. Alynn Richardson finished the corner play with a deflection into the cage as the Flames tied up the contest at 3-3 with just over 15 minutes remaining.
“Their corner defense was exceptional,” Bustin said. “It challenged us. We had opportunities on corners that could have gone in and changed the whole game. But we just kept pushing through.”
The Blue Devils generated several looks at the cage in the waning minutes, and drew a corner opportunity just before the end of regulation. However, the ensuing shot went wide, sending the contest into overtime.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele made a key kick save two minutes into overtime, and Tynan put away the game winner at the 73:07 mark to give Duke its fifth consecutive win.
Junior midfielder Morgan Bitting notched the first goal of the day 10 minutes in, driving through the center of the circle for her first tally of the season. The Flames were quick to respond, as Abby Julius sent a ball inside to teammate Victoria O’Keeffe to knot up the score at the 12:29 mark.
Duke’s defensive unit defused a couple of Liberty scoring opportunities before sophomore Margaux Paolino found junior Caroline Andretta on the edge of the circle towards the end of the half. Andretta fired a reverse past Liberty goalkeeper Allison Schaefer to put the visiting team back in front.
The Blue Devils finished the day with 14 penalty corners to two by the Flames and outshot Liberty, 21-11. Paolino recorded two assists, doing so for the second straight game, while Steele earned two saves and sophomore back Jillian Wolgemuth added a defensive save.
In addition to Sunday’s victory, the Blue Devils also defeated No. 5 North Carolina, 3-2, Friday night in Durham.
“The fortitude of this team is awesome,” Bustin said. “I hope they don’t take it for granted. You want to play your best and you want to make some changes as the game goes on, but to be able to grind it out and get the result, no matter what, is something I just praise these guys for. They’re really a tough group.”
Next up for Duke is the squad’s regular season home finale Saturday, Oct. 28 against Appalachian State. The Blue Devils will honor the program’s six seniors that afternoon at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.