DURHAM, N.C. – After a quiet opening half, the No. 3 Duke Blue Devils (1-0-0) turned on the pressure and fired home a pair of goal to open the season with a 2-0 victory at Koskinen Stadium against the No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes (0-1-0).
Freshman Mackenzie Pluck wasted no time in getting the Blue Devils’ second half surge going, as her first-career goal came a little more than two minutes once play resumed. The North Wales, Pa., native took possession of the ball and dribbled to the top of 18’, delivering a strike past the keeper to the left, giving Duke the 1-0 advantage.
Senior Taylor Racioppi put the nail in the coffin at the 80:25 mark to make it 2-0. Ella Stevens rolled a ball towards goal that was deflected by the Buckeyes’ defense and found Racioppi, who tapped it home for her first goal of the season.
The two scores secured Duke’s 26th win on opening day in program history and first since defeating Wofford, 9-1, in 2016. It also marks the first opening day win at home since 2011, when Duke took down Army at Koskinen, 2-0.
It was a scoreless game after the first 45 minutes despite the Blue Devils reeling off eight shots to the Buckeyes’ two. Duke fired its first two within five minutes of the contest starting, one being saved and another blocked. On the defensive side of the ball, Duke held Ohio State without a shot until the 15th minute, when an attempt from deep would be easily secured by Brooke Heinsohn.
Ohio State’s first real threat came in the 20th minute, as the official issued a yellow card to Chelsea Burns just outside the 18’. However, OSU’s attempt at goal would sail high and keep things scoreless. Duke would fire away several more shots, but could not break through to send things to the locker room 0-0.
After Pluck’s score, Lily Nabet twice nearly notched her first-career goal, taking two attempts in the 68th minute that were saved and blocked.
The Buckeyes turned up the pressure in the final 10 minutes after Racioppi’s score, but the Blue Devil defense held strong to close out game one of the 2018 season with a win.
In total, Duke outshot OSU, 16-8, with four on goal compared to two for the visitors. The Blue Devils also took the corner battle, drawing seven to Ohio State’s three.
Brooke Heinsohn picked up the win for Duke, securing the second solo shutout of her career with four saves.
A total of five Blue Devils made their first-career start Thursday: Tess Boade, Sydney Simmons, Karlie Paschall, Marykate McGuire and Nabet.
Duke’s attention now turns to Sunday, Aug. 19 when they host Illinois to close out the opening week of play. The contest is set to begin at 1 p.m. ET from Koskinen Stadium and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra. Fans can access the broadcast through WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
Fans can keep up with all things Duke women’s soccer by following the program on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for “DukeWSoc”. Behind-the-scenes content of women’s soccer and all Duke athletic programs can be found on Snapchat by following “dukeathletics”.