DURHAM, N.C. – For the third time this season, a Chelsea Burns’ penalty kick represented the game-winning goal, as her fourth score of the year highlighted the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils’ (8-1-0) 3-0 shutout of Virginia Tech (6-2-1) Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium.
Sunday’s win was also delivered in thanks to the play of the Blue Devils’ three senior captains, as Ashton Miller and Imani Dorsey contributed second-half goals, while EJ Proctor tallied her fourth shutout (three solo, one combined) of the season.
“I felt the early part of the second half we were great,” head coach Robbie Church said. “We really stepped up the level of pressure on them and our commitment to attacking. Scored two brilliant goals as well. We were also able to get a number of people into the game, so very happy about that. They’ve been working really hard on the training field and it’s good to see their hard work pay off.”
With the win, Duke has now reeled off eight-straight victories, tying the longest winning streak in school history, set in 2000. It also marks the longest winning streak of the Church era.
“I’m just really happy for this group,” Church said. “They’ve committed to being good all year long. They work really hard in training, do a great job in video and in recovery. They are a committed group and I’m very happy for them.”
The Hokies came out of the gates with a physical, attacking style, trying to get out in front of the Blue Devils. Tech took the first shot of the contest at the 9:37 mark, forcing the first of four Proctor saves on the day. Duke would not launch its first attempt nearly 20 minutes into the match, as Dorsey’s first attempt of the afternoon was saved.
After their two shots in the first 11:30 of the game, Tech was stifled by the Duke defense and held without an attempt for the remainder of the half. Duke would take two more shots and earn a trio of corners until the breakthrough came at the 42:41 mark with Burns’ fourth penalty goal of the season, sending the Blue Devils into the half with a 1-0 advantage.
“It gave us a lot of momentum going into the half but I think we understood that we played ok up to that point,” Church said. “The first 20 minutes I felt we were pretty average, but the second part we really picked up our play and did a really good job of taking their attack to them and drawing the PK.”
The junior is now 4-for-4 on PKs in 2017, with three of those representing the winning goal for Duke. Burns entered the weekend second in the ACC and 28th nationally in game-winning goals.
Sunday’s second half got off to a physical start with five fouls and a yellow card in the first five minutes. Just 16 seconds after officials issued the yellow to Tech’s Madi Conyers, Miller took a pass from Dorsey and rolled a shot past the keeper to the right side of the goal to give Duke a 2-0 lead.
The final score came eight minutes later, as freshman Karlie Paschall recorded the first point of her career by delivering a sharp pass to Dorsey, who fired an almost identical shot as Miller for the match’s third goal.
Miller tallied her first goal of the year and 10th of her career, while Dorsey recorded her seventh score of the season and has now earned a point in eight of Duke’s nine contests this season.
Duke, who is now 4-0-1 in its last five ACC openers, outshot the Hokies to the tune of 10-6, with seven of those coming on goal. Proctor made four saves on the day and moved to 6-1-0 on the year behind her third shutout in the last four games. Seniors Morgan Reid and Schuyler DeBree once again turned in 90 minutes of work, going the distance for the eighth and seventh time this season, respectively.
The Blue Devils will now hit the road, heading to South Bend, Ind., for a showdown against Notre Dame Thursday, Sept. 21. Duke’s first road ACC match of the year is set to start at 7 p.m. ET at Alumni Stadium, with the broadcast on ACC Network Extra. Fans can catch the match on WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app. Duke’s next home contest will be Sunday, Sept. 24 against Pitt at 2 p.m.
“It keeps getting tougher from here,” Church said. “We go to Notre Dame in what is going to be a really tough match and then come back home to play Pitt. We’re just going to take it one at a time.”
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