WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Playing its fourth top 10 opponent over the last five matches, the 16th-ranked Duke women’s soccer team dropped a 3-1 ACC match at third-ranked Wake Forest on Thursday evening at Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.
With the loss, the Blue Devils drop to 4-4-1 overall and 1-2-0 in the ACC, while the Demon Deacons improve to 6-0-2, 2-0-1.
The Blue Devils opened the match with three straight shots off the legs of senior Laura Weinberg and senior Natasha Anasi, but one was saved and the other two went wide.
Duke took five out of the first seven shots of the match, but it was Wake Forest that got on the board first with a goal in the 25:15 mark of the first half. Riley Ridgik buried a 20-yard shot off an assist from Caroline Wootten to put the Demon Deacons ahead, 1-0.
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 7-6 edge in shots, including a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The Blue Devils came out in the second half and evened the match in the first six minutes, after Duke was awarded a free kick on the far left side of the pitch near the end line. Senior Mollie Pathman sent a ball into the box; it got headed around to the feet of freshman Toni Payne. Payne, who is out of Birmingham, Ala., passed it to a wide open Weinberg, who buried her first goal of the season from long distance.
Weinberg, who is out of Boca Raton, Fla., notched her 35th career tally and now owns 91 career points at Duke. Her 35 goals now ranks tied for third all-time on the Blue Devil charts. Weinberg is only four points away from matching Casey McCluskey (95) for second all-time at Duke.
Wake Forest came right back and took three out of the next five shots and then the Demon Deacons took the lead, 2-1, for good in the 63rd minute as Wootten posted her third goal of the season off assists from Katie Stengel and Ridgik.
The Demon Deacons added a third goal with less than eight minutes remaining as the Blue Devils tried to push forward to even the match and dropped a 3-1 decision.
For the match, Wake Forest held a 14-13 lead in shots, while each team featured five shots on goal. Weinberg led Duke with four shots, while Kelly Cobb added three and Kim DeCesare chipped in two.
Redshirt sophomore Ali Kershner allowed a season-high three goals in the net for the Blue Devils, while making two saves.
Duke will next travel to Syracuse on Sunday, Sept. 22 for a 12:00 p.m., contest in Syracuse, N.Y. It will mark the first time in school history the Blue Devils will play the Orange.
• Junior defender Tabria Williford made her return to the field for the first time since the Kennesaw State match on Aug. 30. She had missed five straight matches. • Duke dropped to 4-5-1 in matches played in Winston-Salem, N.C., including a 1-3-2 mark the last six contests.