DURHAM, N.C. - In a battle of two of the top 12 teams in the nation, the fifth-ranked Duke women's soccer team registered a second half goal on its way to finishing with a 1-1 draw against 12th-ranked Wake Forest on Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
With the tie, the Blue Devils move to 11-3-2 overall and 5-2-2 in the ACC, while the Demon Deacons slide to 10-3-3, 4-2-1 in league action.
"I thought we played well in spurts [today]," said Duke head coach Robbie Church. "Wake Forest has given up only nine goals all year. We have to play better under pressure and make better decisions. I thought in the first half we played really well until the final third. Then in the final third we were not dangerous and dynamic enough."
Duke opened the match on the attack and took six out of the first seven shots. The most dangerous attempt of the first half came in the 20th minute as redshirt junior Kim DeCesare took a ball in traffic and fired a right-footed shot that went off the right post and bounced back out.
Even though the Blue Devils dominated play throughout the first half, it was Wake Forest who was able to get on the board first as Duke was called for a foul in the box and the Demon Deacons were awarded a penalty kick at the 42:51 mark. Katie Stengel was able to hit the right corner of the net to put Wake Forest ahead, 1-0.
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 6-3 advantage in shots but trailed the match, 1-0.
"In the second half, we were all over them and had some great opportunities," said Church. "Audrey [Bledsoe] is very good in goal and made some nice saves in there. I think we just wore out. Wake Forest has been off for a week as they have been off since last Sunday. We had the N.C. State game [on Thursday]. We haven't had a break and we are just a tired team right now."
The match got a little rough early in the second half that featured nine fouls over the first 13 minutes. The Blue Devils were able to get five more shots off but the Demon Deacon defense held strong.
Needing a score to still even the match, Church subbed out senior defender Libby Jandl to move more players up front at the 71:13 mark. The move worked as less than three minutes later the Blue Devils evened the match up.
Junior midfielder Kaitlyn Kerr won a ball on the sideline and sent a pass down the line to junior Laura Weinberg. Weinberg, who leads the ACC in scoring with 15 goals, sent a perfect cross into the box where DeCesare leaped and headed in her 11th goal of the season to even the score, 1-1, at the 74:01 mark. A product of Massapequa Park, N.Y., DeCesare registered her fifth tally in ACC play and third goal over the last three matches.
"Laura got the ball out wide, sent in a stellar cross and I was able to get a head on it," said DeCesare. "We felt it coming as we were playing very well."
Following the Duke goal, Church subbed Jandl back into the match and the Blue Devils went back to their normal formation with four defenders.
Wake Forest than registered its best chance of the second half off a corner kick as Jackie Logue headed a ball into the right portion of the goal, but Blue Devil freshman forward Cassie Pecht headed the ball off the line. Demon Deacon Kim Marshall then headed another shot but Duke goalkeeper Tara Campbell made the save.
"Cassie has made so many great offensive plays during the year," said Church. "Then she is in the right spot to make a big-time play [today]. She has been terrific for us all year long. She is a two-way player and has been since day one for us. That is one of the reasons she has been on the field so much for us. I think she is one of the top freshmen in the country."
At the end of regulation, Duke held a 14-7 lead in shots.
The first overtime featured only one shot for Wake Forest, but the Blue Devils were on the attack for most of the 10 minutes. The Demon Deacon offense came alive in the second overtime with six shots, but two were saved by Campbell.
For the match, Duke held a 16-14 shot advantage with DeCesare leading the way with five, including four shots on goal. Weinberg tallied four, while Pecht and Gilda Doria added two each.
Campbell, who is a product of Cincinnati, Ohio, added three saves over the 110 minutes of play, while Aubrey Bledsoe chipped in five saves for Wake Forest.
"I thought we battled, competed and played hard," said Church. "We probably deserved a little bit more than we got out of here. It is frustrating to get a tie out of this game because I thought we could have gotten more. I am not upset with the performance of our kids with how they battled and competed."
Duke will close the ACC regular season on Thursday, Oct. 18 with a 7:00 p.m., contest against North Carolina. The match will be aired live on the ACC Digital Network on YouTube. It will also mark senior night for the Blue Devils as seven different Duke players will be honored prior to the match.
With her goal on Sunday, Kim DeCesare now owns 11 on the season, which ranks tied for ninth on Duke's single-season chart.
Laura Weinberg now owns 78 points on the season, which ranks tied for sixth on Duke's career list.
With 26 goals between Kim DeCesare and Laura Weinberg, the duo is one away from tying the Duke single-season record for highest scoring duos. The record is 27 by KayAnne Gummersall and Elisabeth Redmond in 2008.