DURHAM, N.C. – The second-ranked Duke field hockey team rounded out the regular season with its sixth straight win, dispatching Appalachian State by a 4-0 score Sunday at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. Senior Ashley Kristen notched two goals and classmate Alyssa Chillano added one tally and one assist as the Blue Devils celebrated their six-member senior class in style.
Duke wrapped up regular season action at 15-2, and closed out the slate with an unblemished 11-0 record against non-conference opponents.
“We’ve been working a lot on trying to sustain our attack and keeping possession of the ball and picking our opportunities to shoot or get a corner,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “For the most part, pretty pleased with that. I think it took us a while to get connected attack-wise, especially with so many opportunities … We need to click in a little bit sooner. But I am pleased in the last 20 that when we did, it really showed. That’s the way you want to finish a game.”
The Blue Devils pushed forward from the opening whistle and broke through first in the 17th minute on a penalty corner opportunity. Junior forward Caroline Andretta provided the finish on a sweep by Chillano for her fourth tally of the season. Despite several more looks at the cage, the score remained 1-0 at the intermission.
Duke continued to add to its shot count in the second half, but had a number of offerings turned away by Appalachian State goalkeeper Rachel Gaines. Kristen then came through for her first goal of the day, putting away a pass from fellow senior Ainsley Gill at the 55:31 mark. The Blue Devils quickly made it 3-0 as Chillano struck home a ball from sophomore Margaux Paolino on a corner attempt just over three minutes later.
“A lot of movement and repositioning helped us keep possession,” Chillano said. “We could have got a little more out of it, but we held the pressure on them pretty well, so proud of that.”
Kristen kept the momentum rolling, scoring on an Andretta cross at the front of the cage in the 65th minute. The Duke defense withstood pressure from the Mountaineers in the closing minutes to collect its seventh shutout of the season.
“They did play really good defense,” Kristen said. “Credit to them for that. Second half, we came out stronger. We had to … We started moving more, and we have to continue to do that.”
For the contest, Duke outshot Appalachian State 36-6 and drew 12 penalty corners to one by the Mountaineers. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Sammi Steele recorded two saves and sophomore Haley Schleicher supplied a defensive save, while Gaines wrapped up the day with 17 saves for the visiting squad.
Following the match, the Blue Devils honored seniors Chillano, Sarah Furey, Gill, Kristen, Alexa Mackintire and Stephanie Pezzuti, who have led the program to a 58-20 record over the past four seasons. The group has been a part of three consecutive NCAA quarterfinals appearances, including a trip to the national semifinals in 2015.
With the regular season in the books, the Blue Devils now turn their attention to the ACC Tournament. Duke received the No. 2 seed in the conference championship and will face No. 7 Boston College in the quarterfinals Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Louisville, Ky. The contest will be broadcast on RSN and streamed on ACC Network Extra.