CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 15th-ranked Duke women’s soccer team continued its winning ways in Charlottesville, Va., on Sunday as the third-seeded Blue Devils upset second-ranked Virginia, 3-1, at Klockner Stadium. Duke moved to 6-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament action in Charlottesville and 4-0 versus the Cavaliers.
Duke redshirt junior Kim DeCesare scored two goals on Sunday and four in two games over the weekend at Virginia to lift the Blue Devils into the NCAA Elite Eight for the fourth time over the last six years. The Blue Devils will next play at No. 1 seed Penn State on Friday, Nov. 23 for the chance to advance to the NCAA College Cup.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “Obviously, we came out getting the first couple of goals. Not just the first goal, but the second goal was really key for us. Anytime in NCAA play, the first goal is key for momentum, it is a big goal – almost like a double-goal. It gives your team energy to play.”
Like the Blue Devils have done from the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, Duke came out on the attack as Mollie Pathman took the first Blue Devil shot in the opening five minutes, but it was blocked.
Duke kept attacking and at the 8:10 mark, the Blue Devils scored their 11th goal of the NCAAs to take a 1-0 advantage. Freshman Cassie Pecht fed a streaking junior Laura Weinberg down the left side of the pitch, where Weinberg used her left foot to send a perfect cross into the box.
Weinberg’s cross went to the head of DeCesare, who placed in her sixth header goal of the season and 15th tally of the year. The assist for Pecht was her NCAA-best 15th of the season.
“We always like to get one real early to put them on their heels,” said DeCesare. “Laura had a great cross and I was fortunate to get on the end of it.”
The Blue Devils stayed on the attack and attempted six out of the next seven shots before junior Kaitlyn Kerr sent a long cross in front of the Cavalier goal, where it settled at the feet of Pathman. A native of Durham, N.C., Pathman blasted a right-footed shot that went past Virginia goalkeeper Danielle DeLisle for her first goal of the 2012 campaign at the 37:40 mark.
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 2-0 lead and outshot the Cavaliers, 9-3. Weinberg led the Blue Devils with three attempts, while Kerr, DeCesare and Pathman each tallied two each.
Virginia came out in the second half and was the aggressor. It paid off for the Cavaliers as they notched a goal in the 51st minute to cut the Blue Devil lead to 2-1. Danielle Colaprico crossed it to Caroline Miller, who one-timed in her 20th goal of the season.
“We knew that Virginia was going to come out at us in the second half,” said Church. “They have always been very strong in that segment in the first 15-20 minutes. We were scrambling, holding on for our dear lives for a little while. We had to change our formation and personnel. We settled down and defended very well.”
The Cavaliers kept putting the pressure all through the second half and the Blue Devils held strong as Virginia would end up outshooting Duke, 11-5, over the final 45 minutes. Duke finally was able to get a couple of shots off late in the match and finished off the match at the 88:37 mark with DeCesare’s second goal of the contest.
Weinberg and Kerr set DeCesare up with a one-v-one opportunity at the top right of the box. A native of Massapequa Park, N.Y., DeCesare brought DeLisle out from the goal and she slipped the tally into the wide open net to put Duke ahead 3-1. DeCesare scored her fourth goal of the 2012 NCAA Tournament and the sixth of her career in NCAA action. She also notched a Duke single-season record with her fifth match with multi-goals this year.
Both Kerr and Weinberg added two assists on the night for the Blue Devils, while Weinberg finished the weekend at Virginia with four assists and a goal.
“In the first half, I thought we attacked great as a team,” said Church. “The second half I thought we defended well as a team. Of course, the counter goal at the end -- I was very happy to see that roll in.”
For the match, both Duke and Virginia finished with 14 shots each. The Blue Devils were led by Weinberg and DeCesare’s four shots each. Duke now owns a single-season record with 207 points this season and is two goals away from the school record as the Blue Devils own 65 through 22 matches. The Blue Devils also set a single-season assist record with 77.
“It was the first time we actually had a look at goal in about 10 minutes,” said DeCesare. “Once Kaitlyn played the great ball, the keeper came out and I saw a look at the goal. I figured I might as well take a shot instead of taking it to the corner. When I saw the opportunity I took it.”
Tara Campbell collected five saves in goal for the Blue Devils over 90 minutes of action, while DeLisle added four stops. Campbell, who is out of Cincinnati, Ohio, registered her 54th career victory in goal at Duke.
Notes: • Laura Weinberg increased her single-season points record to 44 with her two assists on the night. Kim DeCesare now owns 38 points, which is fourth on Duke’s points list. • Kim DeCesare’s 16 goals on the year ranks tied for second on Duke’s single-season list. • Laura Weinberg now owns 12 assists on the season to rank tied for third on the Duke single-season chart, while Cassie Pecht increased her total to 15. • With her 27 points this season, Cassie Pecht ranks tied for second on Duke’s single-season freshman points list. • Duke improved to 14-0 this season when scoring three or more goals. • Mollie Pathman connected on her sixth career game-winning goal. • The win over Virginia was the first by Duke over the Cavaliers since the 2008 NCAA Tournament. • Kim DeCesare’s six NCAA Tournament goals over her career ranks second on Duke’s career list. • Laura Weinberg now owns a school-record six career NCAA Tournament assists.