Greenville, S.C. – Five goals to close out the first half and five goals to open the second half propelled No. 2 Duke to a 17-9 win at Furman on Saturday evening inside Paladin Stadium. The Blue Devils used a 6-0 run beginning with 50 second remaining in the second quarter and spanning to the 2:13 mark of the third to open a 14-5 lead that the Paladins could not overcome.
"I saw a group of guys that didn't give up and played very, very hard," said Furman head coach Richie Meade. "They made mistakes and we took advantage of them. I think Duke is terrific, offensively. I think, defensively, we're going to look at the film and realize we made a lot of mistakes. The way we played tonight is the way you have to play in order to have a chance."
Seven different Paladins netted a goal in the season opener, led by William Holcomb and Carson Sorrells, each with two. Freshman Anders Erickson recorded two assists in his first career game as a Paladin, while fellow freshmen Tucker Brown and Jack Barron each netted a goal. Alec Van de Bovenkamp played all 60 minutes in goal for the Paladins, making nine saves on 50 shots (26 on goal).
"There was a time when the score was 9-5 and I thought we had to score, but they got two or three in a row and it really extended the lead," said Meade. "To their credit, and this is why they're as good as they are – they kept playing, and they kept playing hard. But our guys didn't crack."
"I think games this early in the year are growing opportunities for our team. I don't feel like Duke came in here and blew us off the field. They wore us down and their talent showed at times throughout the game."
Duke opened the game with a goal just 35 seconds in to take the early 1-0 lead, but Jack Barron got the Paladins on the board to tie the game at one with 13:26 to go. The Blue Devils grabbed the lead back at the 10:24 mark, before Furman again evened the score on a goal by Tucker Brown with just over nine minutes remaining in the first. Duke used back-to-back goals to open a 4-2 lead with 5:39 left in the period, but Carson Sorrells scored his first goal of the day with just over 30 seconds to go in the period to cut the lead to one after 15 minutes of play.
The Blue Devils extended their lead to 6-3 on back-to-back goals to open the second, before Gus Pinsoneault cut the lead to two with 4:48 left in the half. Duke again responded with back-to-back goals to take an 8-4 lead, before Sorrells cut into the lead at 8-5 with just over 2:00 to go in the half. Joe Roberston then scored his second goal of the day for Duke with 50 seconds left in the half, launching the Blue Devils on a 6-0 run that spanned the next 13 minutes of game clock to open a 14-5 lead.
Furman used three-straight goals to end the third and start the fourth to cut the lead to 14-8 with 10:58 to go, but Duke pushed the lead back to seven on Robertson's fourth goal of the evening with just over 10 minutes left. The Paladins got their final goal of the day from Holcomb with 6:27 on the clock, before the Blue Devils scored the game's final two goals to walk away with the 17-6 victory.
Furman is back in action next Saturday, traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on North Carolina at 12:00 PM.