TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In a showdown of the top two ranked women's soccer programs in the nation, the second-ranked Blue Devils dropped a 1-0 decision at No. 1 Florida State on Thursday evening at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, Fla.
With the loss, Duke drops to 6-2 overall and 0-1 in ACC action, while Florida State remains undefeated at 7-0 overall and 1-0 in league play.
"It was a great soccer game," said Duke head coach Robbie Church. "I thought we competed, except for parts of the first half. We played at an extremely high level in the second half, but didn't do a good job of finishing our opportunities. I have no problem with our effort as we played at a championship level effort in the second half. We have to continue to play at that effort for 90 minutes."
The Blue Devils outshot the Seminoles in the first half, 9-8, but it was Florida State that was able to find the back of the net in the 23rd minute as Jamia Fields connected off a deflection for her first goal of the season.
Between the 28th and 33rd minutes, the Blue Devils had a flurry of activity in the box as Kim DeCesare and Kaitlyn Kerr each had shots that were blocked, Cassie Pecht had a shot that was saved by a FSU defender, Mollie Pathman had a shot that was saved and Laura Weinberg fired a shot that went wide.
Florida State opened the second half with a shot, but Duke came right back with three straight attempts off the legs of Weinberg and DeCesare. A product of Massapequa Park, N.Y., DeCesare came off the bench on Thursday after missing the Marquette match with an ankle injury.
Duke continued to pressure the Seminoles but couldn't get anything past the FSU defense. Over the final five minutes of play, Katie Trees, DeCesare and Weinberg all attempted shots but could not connect.
For the match, Duke outshot Florida State, 19-14, but only had five shots on goal.
"I thought we were really good in the second half, but I was a little disappointed in our effort in the first half," said Church. "The final ball, scoring opportunities and the things we have been good at lately kind of got away from us. I thought we competed very well."
In goal for the Blue Devils, senior Tara Campbell registered five saves over 90 minutes of action. For Florida State, Kelsey Wys collected the shutout with four saves.
Making her return to the Duke lineup was Pathman, who returned on Monday from Japan, where her U.S. U-20 women's national team defeated Germany, 1-0, to win the World Cup. A junior native of Durham, N.C., Pathman attempted three shots, including two on goal. Sophomore Kelly Cobb, who also played on the U-20 national team, did not make the trip to Florida State and is listed as questionable for the Miami match.
Dating back to last season, all six of the Blue Devil losses have been by one goal. Duke was averaging 4.14 goals a match heading into Thursday's match, but was shutout for the first time this year. The Blue Devils had not scored less than two goals all season. Duke fell for the sixth straight time at FSU and has not won a match in Tallahassee, Fla., since 1999.
"Credit Florida State, what a great team," said Church. "It was a great atmosphere and great women's college soccer game. Overall, we are really disappointed to drop this game, but we came away with some positive points and now we move on to Miami."
Duke will remain in the state of Florida until Sunday, Sept. 16 when the Blue Devils will play at Miami at 1:00 p.m. The match will be aired live on ESPN3.
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