BLACKSBURG, Va. – Needing a key road ACC win Sunday, the seventh-ranked Duke women’s soccer team traveled to Blacksburg, Va., and dominated the 18th-ranked Hokies by a 4-0 score at Thompson Field.
Duke improves to 7-2-2 overall and 2-0-1 in league action. The Blue Devils will be off during the incoming week before hosting Syracuse Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m.
“It is a huge win for us,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “Virginia Tech has really had our number the last three or four years. “We were disappointed that we left two points on the table last Thursday. Everybody was focused and determined to have a good performance.”
Virginia Tech (8-4, 0-3) opened the match on the attack as Murielle Tiernan fired a shot in the second minute, but Duke junior goalkeeper EJ Proctor registered a save.
After sophomore Taylor Racioppi was taken down in the box, Duke senior Christina Gibbons stepped up and finished a penalty kick off at the 12:40 mark in the first half to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 advantage.
Less than three minutes later freshman Ella Stevens found a streaking Imani Dorsey, for a breakaway and the junior beat Hokie goalkeeper Mandy McGlynn for her fourth goal of the season.
“I thought we were really aggressive from the opening kickoff and we were rewarded with two goals early,” commented Church. “That makes such a great difference.”
The two goals over the first 15 minutes of action marks the third time this season the Blue Devils have accomplished that feat – Wofford and UCF.
Duke would end up taking a 2-0 advantage to the break at halftime. Both teams attempted six shots each.
Just 30 seconds into the second half Dorsey attempted a shot that was blocked, but rookie Ella Stevens corralled the ball and finished in her fourth goal of the season to give Duke a 3-0 lead.
“I thought we haven’t come out of halftime great lately,” said Church. “For us to score a goal in the first 30 seconds really put them on their back foot. It was really, really big.”
In the 61st minute, Gibbons played a ball to Toni Payne and the Birmingham, Ala., prodcut then sent a perfect cross into Dorsey, who placed in her second goal of the match to give Duke a 4-0 advantage. The two-goal performance Sunday is a first for the Elkridge, Md., product. Dorsey now owns a team-best five goals on the season.
For the match, Virginia Tech held a 13-12 lead in shots. The Blue Devils were led by Dorsey with three attempts, while Payne and Gibbons added two each.
Duke collected its second straight ACC shutout on the week and the fifth overall on the season. Proctor, who hails from Wilson, N.C., now owns 16 career shutouts, which ranks tied fourth overall on Duke’s career shutout list.
“This week we got two shutouts – two clean sheets,” said Church. “That is something we needed so bad because we had given up a lot of goals. We know to win at a very high level you cannot give up goals. I am very happy for the week as we gave up no goals in two ACC games.”
The victory for Duke snapped a three-match losing streak to the Hokies, where the Blue Devils had been outscored by a 10-2 ledger.