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Aug. 26, 2011

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – In the 2011 season opener, the sixth-ranked Ohio State field hockey team fell, 3-2, in overtime against No. 15 Duke Friday afternoon at Buckeye Varsity Field. In the seven-on-seven first overtime, the Blue Devils (1-0) scored with 21 seconds left on the clock against the Buckeyes (0-1) to claim the victory.

Freshman midfielder Devon Gagliardi scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway at 84:39.

“I thought we showed great character and determination today to come from behind and the tie the game in the second half,” head coach Anne Wilkinson said. “The overtime is not an easy part of the game and Duke took advantage of its opportunities when they had to.”

Offensively, Ohio State was led by junior tri-captain Berta Queralt, who posted both goals for the Buckeyes. Senior tri-captain Jenn Sciulli notched an assist on Queralt’s second score.

The Blue Devils struck first for the early 1-0 lead when sophomore Emmie Le Marchand tipped in a pass from the left side in front of an open cage at 2:16.  Junior Mary Nielsen was credited with the assist.

Duke held the majority of the possession for the next 15 minutes until Queralt, a two-time All-American, received a through ball by Sciulli and found open space down the Blue Devils’ left side. Queralt, a native of Barcelona, Spain, sprinted past the Duke back line and fired a shot from the left side of the circle into the back right of the cage at 19:42 for the unassisted goal, 1-1.

The Scarlet and Gray had a great chance to take the lead following a penalty corner at 29:35 when Sciulli rattled a shot off the left post. The native of Palmyra, Pa., Sciulli then came up big on the defensive end minutes later with a defensive save at 33:49 following a Duke penalty corner. 

The Blue Devils came out of halftime with the offensive pressure to begin the period. Duke regained the lead, 2-1, when freshman Jessica Buttinger posted an unassisted goal at 41:57 after working her way down the Buckeyes’ end line towards the cage.

However, the Buckeyes rebounded quickly to tie the game, 2-2, following a penalty corner. Queralt gave her squad the momentum at 48:22 when she tipped in a shot from the right side of the cage after Sciulli fired the ball from the top of the circle. Sciulli was credited with the assist.

All tied up at 2-2, the first game of the 2011 campaign went into overtime. The Blue Devils held a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal to begin the seven-on-seven battle.

Senior goalkeeper Ally Tunitis had a solid game for the Buckeyes between the posts, collecting a career-high eight saves against the Blue Devils, including seven stops in the final 50 minutes of competition.

The Buckeyes return to action at 2 p.m. Saturday as the team host New Hampshire at Buckeye Varsity Field.