No. 4 Syracuse field hockey dominates early, pulls away for victory over No. 2 Duke

SU scores four first half goals as Orange cruises to 5-1 win over Blue Devils.

No. 2 Duke surrendered eight penalty corners to No. 4 Syracuse field hockey in the first half on Friday at J.S. Coyne Stadium. The SU corners led to four unanswered goals in a span of 17 minutes as the Orange pulled away for a 5-1 victory.

Overall, the Blue Devils (10-2, 3-2 ACC) relinquished 10 penalty corners, five of which ended up as goals against. 

Syracuse (11-1, 4-1 ACC) was relentless in the first 35 minutes, dominating play and possession. It managed 11 shots, while Duke managed only two.

"I think getting the first [goal] is huge, because it's such a confidence booster," SU goaltender Regan Spencer said. "I think the last few weeks we've been up and down. It's given us perspective on what we need to improve on. We had a really solid week of practice and focused on what we needed to fix."

Spencer, who has allowed just 15 goals in the 11 games she's played this season, was close to her third shutout of the year, but it was snapped with less than seven minutes to go off a penalty corner.

Sophomore Roos Weers scored twice for the Orange in a span of less than 10 minutes in the first half. The back/midfielder now has 20 career goals as she continues to improve on what has been an impressive sophomore season.

“We had confidence going [into the game],” she said following the victory. “We executed well. We believed in each other and it’s just the little things that went well today. I think the only team we can lose to is ourselves. If we play as a team we are one of the best in the country.”

Duke battled back in the second half, winning more 50/50 battles and ramping up the pace late in the game. But it was too little too late. By the time the Blue Devils finally put one on the board, there was less than six minutes to play in the contest. Forward Elaine Carey would add another goal for the Orange two minutes later to seal the victory.

“I was really pleased with our corner execution,” Syracuse head coach Ange Bradley said. “[In the] first half I thought we played a really good game of hockey.”

Syracuse has won every game against Duke in the series history, compiling a 4-0 record. The last time the two teams faced off, the Orange came out on top, 1-0, in October 2015.

Syracuse travels to Ithaca to face Cornell (5-5, 0-2 IVY) on Sunday at 3 p.m. The Orange cruised to a dominant 9-1 victory over the Big Red last season in the teams’ previous matchup.

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