EAST LANSING, Mich. – Senior forward Jessica Buttinger fired two goals to lead the fourth-ranked Blue Devils past Central Michigan Sunday afternoon at Michigan State’s Ralph Young Field. As a team, Duke outshot the Chippewas 29-6 en route to collecting its second win of the 2014 campaign.
After opening the season with a 2-1 overtime victory against the Spartans Friday, the Blue Devils (2-0) exhibited a strong attacking presence again in Sunday’s contest. The squad converted less than three minutes into the match on a cross from freshman Sarah Furey inside to Buttinger. The score was the first of the fall for Buttinger, who tied for second on the team last year with eight goals.
The first period saw Duke total 15 shots and seven penalty corners. Central Michigan goalkeeper Sadie Reynolds made 10 stops in that time, keeping the Blue Devils off the board again until Buttinger posted her second goal on an assist from junior Aileen Johnson in the 30th minute.
“Jess came in with the mentality to really make it happen,” said head coach Pam Bustin. “She kept working to build it up and really led the team as far as getting it done.”
Mary Alice Moore of the Chippewas responded just over a minute later on a penalty corner opportunity to cut Duke’s lead to 2-1 at the half.
Sophomore midfielder Hunter Bracale kicked off the second period with a tip-in goal off a touch from Johnson. Aided by solid play in the defense and midfield, the Blue Devils maintained offensive possession for much of the half, racking up 14 more shots and six additional penalty corner chances. Freshman Ainsley Gill scored for the second time in as many games off of a rebound at the 53:25 mark to secure the 4-1 non-conference victory for Duke.
“We got off to a great start in the first half and got into a rhythm,” Bustin said. “That fell off a little bit under pressure, but in the second half we were able to regroup and review our team goals and game plan for the day, and really executed that well. Our defense did a good job of keeping play up in front and the forwards and midfielders did a good job of keeping the attack alive.”
For the contest, Duke placed 20 of its 29 shots on goal and registered assists on three of the four tallies. The defensive unit held Central Michigan (0-2) to just six shots for the game, with redshirt junior goalkeeper Lauren Blazing notching a pair of saves.
With the pair of wins in East Lansing over the weekend, the Blue Devils earned a 2-0 start to the season for the second consecutive year. Up next, the team returns to Durham to host seventh-ranked Princeton in its home opener Friday, Sept. 5 at 4:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Blue Devil Network Plus.#GoDuke