Field hockey season ends in hard-fought battle at Duke
Patriot League champs fall short in NCAA tournament
The American University field hockey team (11-8) fell to the #3 Duke Blue Devils (18-4) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. With this loss, their season ends and they are out of contention for the NCAA Championship.
The Eagles got the better of the Blue Devils at the start and completely controlled possession for the first few minutes. American didn’t get any shots off, but they proved they would not just roll over. Graduate student defender Charllene Boshoff continued to shine as she cleared Duke balls from American’s circle and prevented early shot attempts from even reaching senior goalkeeper Bryn Underwood. Sophomore midfielder Agustina Roffo continued Boshoff’s clear further into the midfield, but she fouled and the Blue Devils regained possession.
Duke’s speed caught American off guard and forward Hannah Miller easily wove through Eagle defenders. Miller fired a reverse chip across the front of the goal, where unmarked forward Issy Carey was waiting to tap in the Blue Devils’ first goal.
This matchup between two very statistically similar teams created a bit of a standstill. There were just three total shots in the opening quarter, all coming from Duke, and two coming in the final 30 seconds. Blue Devil forward Alaina McVeigh took off on a breakaway after intercepting a pass from senior defender Emily Horace. McVeigh dashed through the American defense and promptly fired a shot on Underwood. Underwood dove to save the subsequent shot, and went on to stop the ball while on the ground.
Early in the second quarter, the referees sent Boshoff off the field with a green card. This put Duke up a player for two minutes with the Eagles lacking their best defender. The Blue Devils couldn’t capitalize on their advantage and remained up by one. Just afterwards, Duke earned the first penalty corner of the game. The ball hit junior midfielder Katelyn Bailey’s foot on their first attempt, so another was called. The following corner led to a near goal for the Blue Devils that went just wide of the cage.
Late in the half, Boshoff received another green card, once again putting her team down a player. Luckily for the Eagles, Duke would not find another goal here.
The Blue Devils opened the third quarter with an early penalty corner, but the American defense remained strong and did not let the ball through. A Duke team that typically does quite well on penalty corners failed to convert one yet again a few minutes later. American finally earned a penalty corner of their own afterward. The inserter graduate student forward Megan Hoffman fired the ball up to junior midfielder Tayla-Jade Weiss who passed to Boshoff. Duke goalkeeper Piper Hampsch saved Boshoff’s shot but hit it to Hoffman, who tipped the ball to senior midfielder Imogen Hatton. Hampsch spun around to adjust her position, but by the time she was facing forward, Hatton had lifted the equalizing goal over her.
The Eagles would once again be down a player as the referees handed freshman defender Sophie Willemse a green card. Just a few minutes after Hatton’s goal tied the game and while American was still without Willemse, Duke tapped in the ball after a bouncy and chaotic sequence in the Eagles’ circle. Blue Devil forward Barb Civitella was stationed perfectly on the goalpost to knock in a reverse chip shot from Carey, and they once again led American.
Early in the fourth quarter, junior midfielder Kaleigh Missimer sent a pass to Hatton, who barely missed her second goal of the game, going the same exact way on the same cage as an earlier Duke shot. American finished off the game in their defensive end, successfully fending off three penalty corners in the final ten minutes of the game. Duke would not score again, but neither would American, and the Blue Devils went on to win 2-1. Later that day on the very same field, Liberty University, and Underwood’s twin sister, fell to Syracuse, who then lost to Duke in the quarterfinal round. Duke will play Northwestern in the semi-final round on Nov. 17.
This article was edited by Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Olivia Citarella and Luna Jinks.