By Dalton Ray —
For the first time in program history, field hockey will play in the ACC championship after defeating Duke 3-2.
The win came in thrilling fashion, needing a shootout to decide a winner. Louisville prevailed 4-3 in the shootout, earning the win.
Goal keeper Ayeisha McFerran recorded a career-high 18 saves, leading to coach Justine Sowry calling her one of the world’s best.
“I really only have two words to say: Ayeisha McFerran. She was phenomenal today,” Sowry said. “She’s not only the best in the country, but one of the best in the world.”
In the first half, Marisa Martin Pelegrina put the Cardinals on top in the 33rd minute. Heading into half time, Duke out-shot Louisville 10-4. By the break, McFerran already tied a season-high in saves.
Duke tied the game in the 56th minute on Alyssa Chillano’s goal.
Four minutes later, Marigrace Ragsdale passed to Minout Mink, who netted her 10th goal of the year. Louisville led 2-1 with under 10 minutes to play.
In the final minutes, Louisville fended off the Duke attack and began to kill the clock.
The Blue Devils called a timeout with three minutes to play and pulled their goal keeper out to add another attacker. With 25 seconds to play, Duke’s Ashley Kristen tied the game at 2-2 to send it into overtime.
In a sudden-victory overtime period, Duke continued to dominate the possession. The Blue Devils settled in on the U of L side of the field and restricted the Cardinals to only a handful of fast break opportunities.
A goal-less overtime period shifted play into a shootout.
Both teams opened with two goals, but McFerran stepped up with a save on Duke’s third attempt, giving Louisville a 3-2 advantage.
Duke’s Sammi Steele kept the Blue Devil’s alive by getting a save on Taylor Stone’s shot. Chillano knotted the shootout up at 3-3 with her goal.
Mink, Louisville’s leading goal scorer, scored the final goal to secure the fourth point. McFerran once again stepped up to the occasion, forcing Haley Schleicher to miss.
With the win, Louisville now faces North Carolina in the ACC championship Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m.
You can Follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal-