DURHAM, N.C. — For the fourth straight time in four matches, Duke and Louisville battled 110 minutes and finished without a goal in Thursday’s ACC match in Durham, N.C. The sixth-ranked Blue Devils outshot the Cardinals, 31-9, but couldn’t get anything in the back of the net.
The two squads have played a total of 440 minutes in the series and have yet to score a goal. With the draw, both teams move to 6-2-2 overall and 1-0-1 in league action.
“It’s frustrating and I feel pain for the players because they did everything we asked of them and we had a couple injuries this week,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “It feels like the Carolina game where we just dominate and then come up with nothing. We just have to stay with it, we’ve been down this road before and as long as you prepare yourself to come out and work hard I’ve got no problems. I thought we worked really, really hard and we were the better team tonight, but the scoreboard just shows a tie.”
The first half was dominated by the Blue Devils as Duke maintained possession for most of the first 45 minutes, while holding a 12-2 shot advantage. Junior Ashton Miller featured a team-high three attempts.
Of the 12 shots for the Blue Devils, only one came inside the 18. That one was Duke’s best scoring chance of the evening so far. Following a foul by the Cardinals, Miller stepped up and sent a perfect pass to a leaping junior Imani Dorsey, but her header slipped high over the crossbar.
A total of eight different Duke players attempted shots in the first half.
“We were having a hard time breaking down their back line and trying to get in behind them,” commented Dorsey. “We were settling for a lot of long shots, which we have a history of being able to make, but now those aren’t going in. So, I think we can do a better job getting in because that’s when we’ve found the most success this season. Our team is really deep. We have a lot of people who can step in a fulfill roles.”
In the first shot of the second half, senior Christina Gibbons found Dorsey, but her left-footed attempt went high at the 47:34 mark.
Louisville’s Brooklynn Rivers featured its best opportunity in the 55th minute, after jumping in front of a Duke defender and sending a shot just past the far post.
In a flurry of shots by the Blue Devils in a span of less than a minute, Duke nearly got on the board in the 71st minute. Senior Toni Payne had a shot blocked and then a cross in front of the goal led to a sliding Taylor Racioppi’s shot in point-blank range that went off the Cardinal keeper Taylor Bucklin’s knee and out. It led to a corner kick and freshman Olivia Erlbeck launched a shot that went wide.
A free kick by Erlbeck from 23 yards in the 79th minute went wide right.
At the end of regulation, Duke held a 24-6 lead in shots with Dorsey leading the way with five attempts.
“We put on a great effort from the beginning and took a lot of shots and had great opportunities,” said Dorsey. “Since I have played Louisville, we haven’t beaten them, so it’s always been a great game. I was really proud of the way we came out and started the game with a lot of heart.”
Duke had five shots in the first overtime, which included two in a row by senior Lizzy Raben and Dorsey that were blocked. Junior Schuyler DeBree and junior Casey Martinez also added attempts that were high.
Both teams fired two shots in the second overtime, before finishing in a 0-0 draw in 110 minutes. Dorsey registered a team-best six shots, while Miller added five. Eleven different Blue Devils notched shots on the evening.
“We did a great job defensively and that’s something that we’ve talked about,” commented Church. “They had a couple little half looks with some fouls coming across the front of the goal, but nothing really hard. We are doing a lot of good things, but the final product is just something else we will keep working on. We will go back to the training field and keep working on it.”
Junior goalkeeper EJ Proctor finished the match with five saves over 110 minutes and collected her fourth shutout of the season. A product of Wilson, N.C., Proctor now owns 15 career shutouts, which moves her into fifth on Duke’s all-time charts.
‘We have to come out with the same mindset, because I thought we had a great mindset and we were full of energy today,” commented Church on moving forward. “We just have to be little more composed, get our heads up, and play somebody a little bit tougher. The goalkeeper made one phenomenal save, but we didn’t test her that much. We have to put more on frame and make the goalkeeper work.”
Duke will hit the road for only its second true road match of the season Sunday, Sept. 25 as the Blue Devils travel to Blacksburg, Va., to face Virginia Tech at 4 p.m.
“Well of course a couple of goals would be great,” said Dorsey. “But, the way we can do that is to keep energy high and not settle for shots. I think we can find some better opportunities to keep the ball in frame and really test their goalkeeper.”
Notes: • Duke played its first match without sophomore Kayla McCoy, who tore her Achilles in the last match versus Boston College.