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No. 3 Maryland field hockey drops first game of season in 2-1 loss to No. 20 Duke

The Blue Devils scored the go-ahead goal with 68 seconds to play.

Maryland field hockey lost its first game of the season Friday.
Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Although trailing No. 3 Maryland field hockey for over 40 minutes Friday night, No. 20 Duke came alive when it mattered most.

The Blue Devils took their first lead of the game with just over a minute left to play, when Logan Clouser buried a rebound attempt in traffic. The goal was the deciding blow in a 2-1 upset win over the Terps (3-1) in the Big Ten/ACC Cup.

Until the end, goalkeeper Paige Kieft and Maryland’s defense played admirably for head coach Missy Meharg. Duke (2-0) poured on six shots in the fourth quarter, matching Maryland’s game total. The Blue Devils also added three penalty corners in the frame.

Despite not being called upon for much of the game, Kieft finished with a career-high six saves.

Maryland also seemed poised for another offensive showcase when it scored on its first possession.

Less than 30 seconds into the game, graduate forward Ashlyn Carr weaved through the Blue Devils’ defense and netted her first goal of the season. Carr was assisted by freshman Maci Bradford, whose seven points are the second-most on the team this season.

But, the late-game dramatics were on after Duke finally found an equalizer in the third quarter. Sophomore attacker Alaina McVeigh, who missed the entirety of last season with an injury, sprinted through the midfield and nailed a shot into the top corner of the net; She has scored a goal in each of Duke’s opening two games.

Maryland will look to get back on track when it hosts No. 17 Boston College on Sunday in its second game of the Big Ten/ACC Cup.

Three things to know

1. Sticking with Kieft. After splitting time in each of Maryland’s first three games with freshman goalkeeper Alyssa Klebasko, Meharg opted to keep Kieft in net for the game’s entirety. The junior, who was battle tested by game’s end, logged her first full game since a 4-3 win over Rutgers on Oct. 16, 2022.

2. A rare loss. After winning its last two games against the Blue Devils, Maryland dropped to 36-13-3 all-time against Duke — 15-4 with Meharg as its head coach.

3. Playing for more. Before the game, Maryland and Duke took part in a pre-game ceremony honoring the “Fight 4 ALS’’ campaign. The campaign was created by Meharg’s close friends, Matt and Peggy Engleka, to heighten awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Both Maryland and Duke wore custom shirts while Matt, who is battling ALS, participated in the ceremonial pushback.