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Senior Grace Christus
Duke Hosts Indiana, Drexel in Opening Weekend
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 08/29/2013
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Game 1
No. 10 Duke vs. Indiana
Friday, Aug. 30 l 3 p.m.
Durham, N.C. l Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium

Game 2
No. 10 Duke vs. No. 17 Drexel
Sunday, Sept. 1 l 2 p.m.
Durham, N.C. l Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium

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DURHAM, N.C. – The 10th-ranked Duke field hockey team will open its season in Durham for the first time since 2009, hosting Indiana and No. 17 Drexel this weekend at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. Game time for the season opener against the Hoosiers is set for 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 while Sunday’s contest against Drexel will begin at 2 p.m. Both matches are slated to be streamed live on the Blue Devil Network.

All regular season Duke field hockey home events at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium are free to the public. Free parking for both contests will be available in the 705 Broad Street parking lot across Broad Street from the stadium.

The Blue Devils are coming off of a pair of preseason scrimmages against James Madison and North Carolina over the past couple weeks, in addition to conducting preseason camp. Under the direction of head coach Pam Bustin, who enters her third season in Durham, the squad returns 15 players from 2012 and welcomes six newcomers to the program.

“I’m really excited to see this team play together and reach some goals for all the hard work they’ve put in on the field as far as hockey’s concerned, and off the field as far as being together as a team and really committing to the same mission,” Bustin said. “This team wants to win, and understands that genuine hard work and dedication to each other precedes the victories.”

The group of returning letterwinners is highlighted by 2012 All-ACC team members Paula Heimbach and Emmie Le Marchand. Heimbach, a defender from Palm, Pa., was also a Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association third team All-America selection last fall and was tabbed to the 2013 Preseason All-ACC squad last week, while Le Marchand was the Blue Devils’ leader in goals (11), points (27) and shots (29) in 2012.

Four-year starter Grace Christus returns for her final season, as do fellow seniors Ashley Camano, Brenna Rescigno and McKay Ross and graduate student Devon Gagliardi. Graduate student Cherry Seaborn joins the program from England while Robin Blazing, Hunter Bracale, Heather Morris, Savannah Story and Kelsey Wagner form the Blue Devils’ rookie class.

Duke’s 2013 roster also features three student-athletes who gained international playing experience this summer at the Junior World Cup in Germany. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Blazing and sophomore midfielder Aileen Johnson guided the United States Under-21 squad to a seventh-place finish, while junior forward Jessica Buttinger competed with the Under-21 Canadian team. In addition, Bustin served as an assistant coach with Team USA at the international tournament.

Friday’s season opener marks just the second meeting in program history between the Blue Devils and the Hoosiers, with Indiana winning the only other meeting by a 3-2 score in overtime in 2011. Duke holds an all-time record of 21-21 against teams currently in the BIG 10. The Blue Devils lead the all-time series with Drexel by a 5-2 margin after falling to the Dragons by a 1-0 score in last fall's season opener in Philadelphia.

Duke is 22-11 all-time in season openers since 1980 and begins the season ranked 10th in the 2013 Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I preseason poll. The team is slated to face 12 opponents this fall who are ranked in the initial poll, including six teams in the top 10 – No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 Princeton, No. 5 Syracuse, No. 7 Virginia and No. 8 Old Dominion.

Following this weekend’s matches, the Blue Devils will hit the road, traveling to the state of New Jersey for games against third-ranked Princeton and Rutgers. Duke will square off with the Tigers Friday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. before taking on the Scarlet Knights Sunday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m.