DURHAM, N.C. - Behind two goals from Laura Weinberg, the fourth-ranked Blue Devil women's soccer team downed eighth-ranked Marquette, 5-2, on Sunday to close the 2012 Duke Nike Classic, which was played at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
With the victory, Duke improved to 6-1-0 on the season as the Blue Devils conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule. Coming into the weekend, Marquette was undefeated and had not allowed a goal, but dropped to 3-2-1 overall. In the other match on Sunday, 14th-ranked North Carolina cruised past San Diego, 5-0.
"We are playing really well offensively," said Duke head coach Robbie Church. "I like what we are doing offensively. We are sharing the ball well, we are passing and moving, we are running at players and we are very efficient around the goal. It is a great little streak we are in from an offensive standpoint"
In the first half, it was the Weinberg show as the native of Boca Raton, Fla., collected two goals at the 17-minute mark and in the 37th minute to put the Blue Devils ahead, 2-0. Weinberg's first tally came off a long free kick from senior defender Libby Jandl, who sent it in from the right side and Weinberg headed the ball to the left corner.
The second goal was unbelievable as the 5-9 forward took a pass from senior defender Erin Koballa and dribbled to the 18-yard mark and blasted a left-footed rocket to the top left corner of the net. Weinberg now owns seven goals on the season to go along with four assists and 18 points.
"We had that offensive mentality today," said Weinberg. "We knew that we had to compensate for Kim [DeCesare] being out so we really took it upon ourselves today -- the three of us up top to get our shots off and finish our chances. It was a great team effort."
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 10-1 shot advantage and led 2-0.
Just 15 minutes into the second half, the Blue Devils scored two goals in a matter of 18 seconds as sophomore Katie Trees was taken down in the box and a penalty kick was awarded to Duke. Trees, who is a native of San Diego, Calif., connected on the kick for her third goal of the season at the 69:23 mark.
Just 18 seconds later, Trees found a streaking Cassie Pecht in the middle of the box and the freshman beat a diving Marquette goalkeeper Amanda Engel for her third goal of the year.
With the Blue Devils ahead, 4-0, Church went to the bench starting in the 72nd minute but Marquette started putting the pressure on Duke and connected on its first goal of the match at the 73:06 mark as Cara Jacobson found Kate Reigle. Just three minutes later, the Golden Eagles cut the Duke lead to 4-2 as Taylor Madigan found the back of the net as well.
Church re-inserted most of his starters and the Blue Devils were able to make the score 5-2 in the 80th minute off a corner kick. Weinberg sent a right-footed boot past the far post where freshman Kara Wilson looped a cross in front of the box where junior Gilda Doria found the back of the net for her fifth goal of the year.
Doria, who is a product of West Palm Beach, Fla., has tallied five goals, four assists and 14 points on the season through seven matches. Prior to this season, Doria had collected only one goal and nine assists for 11 points.
"I am glad they are going in but the team has been working hard and that's what is important," said Doria. "Sure I am scoring but we are winning and now that non-conference is over, we ended 6-1 so we are excited about Thursday going to Tallahassee."
Four Blue Devils were named to the Duke Nike Classic All-Tournament Team - Weinberg, Doria, Jandl and Kaitlyn Kerr. Other members of the team were Lexi Deol (San Diego), Meghan O'Rourke (San Diego), Ranee Premji (UNC), Amber Brooks (UNC), Maria Lubrano (UNC), Katie Hishmeh (Marquette), Rachel Brown (Marquette) and the MVP of the classic Summer Green of North Carolina.
"I thought Katie Trees played really well up front, I thought Callie [Simpkins] played well," said Church. "Part of being a team is when people go down and they are going to go down in the course of the season, but we need them to get back. That is a lot of experience in Nicole Lipp and Kim [DeCesare] and we need that when we go on the road here in the ACC."
For the match, Duke outshot Marquette, 14-7. A total of seven Blue Devils attempted shots with Weinberg leading the way with five attempts. In three matches this season at home, Duke has outscored its opponents 17-3.
"Marquette is a great team," commented Church. "They came in eighth in the country and well deserved. They are going to win a lot of soccer games."
The Blue Devils played the match on Sunday without starting midfielder Nicole Lipp and leading scorer Kim DeCesare, who have both suffered ankle injuries. Duke starters Mollie Pathman and Kelly Cobb are expected to return to Durham on Monday and will rejoin the Blue Devils for ACC action, after leading the U.S. U-20 World Cup team to the championship over Germany, 1-0.
"We have been talking about that all through pre-season and non-conference, that we are really going to have to step it up without Mollie [Pathman] and Kelly [Cobb]," said Weinberg. "So I think we did a great job as a team both offensively and defensively. They were a huge part of our team scoring wise and assists last season so we really needed to compensate for their loss, but thankfully they'll be back for us for the ACC's which start on Thursday. So we are really excited to get them back."
Duke will open ACC action next week with a trip to Florida to face No. 1 Florida State on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7:00 p.m., and then will play at Miami on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1:00 p.m. Both matches will be aired live on ESPN3.