DURHAM, N.C. Ė The Blue Devil Women’s Soccer team continued its winning ways on the final day of the Duke adidas Classic on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over 29th-ranked Ohio State at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils battled the heat to win their fourth straight and fifth out of their last six matches as they improved to 5-1-2, while the Buckeyes fell to 6-3-0 on the season.
For the tournament, North Carolina and Duke tied for the team champion honor with two victories each but with the Tar Heels scoring seven goals to the Blue Devils six, UNC received the team champion honor. In the first match on Sunday, UNC knocked off San Francisco, 2-0.
“You have to win these type of games to have a really good season and to see our team grow,” said Duke Head Coach Robbie Church. “This is a game I’m not sure we would have won a couple of years ago. This is one with the heart that this team has. It was interesting because when they scored there goal. I’m sure if it was a shot or a cross, but it went in. I jumped up at that point. A lot of times I yell at that point, but I looked up and not one person had dropped their head.”
Duke came out in the first half and were a little sluggish and didn’t get its offense into a good grove early. Ohio State had an excellent opportunity in the 10th minute as the Buckeyes were able to get open in front of the goal, but Blue Devil defender Christie McDonald hustled to tackle the OSU attacker and knock the ball away. Lisa Collison of the Buckeyes grabbed the errant ball and shot towards the Duke goal were Blue Devil defender Sara Murphy blocked the shot.
The Blue Devils went on to take the next three shots during the next eight minutes as Elisabeth Redmond had two and McDonald registered the other.
For the next 23 minutes, neither team posted a shot attempt until Duke freshman Kendall Bradley sent a perfect feed up the middle of the field to freshman Madeline McEwen where she beat Ohio State goalkeeper Lauren Robertson from 14 yards out at the 42:43 mark. The goal for McEwen, who is a native of Durham, N.C., was the first of her career, while it was only her third shot of the season.
“I had taken a couple shots already and I had hit the post on all of them,” said McEwen. “I was really excited, and really glad I actually finished one.”
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 6-2 shot advantage and a 1-0 lead. With McEwen’s goal in the first half, the Blue Devils now own 10 different players who have scored at least one goal.
Ohio State came out in the second half and took a shot during the first 31 seconds by Collison, but it went high. Then at the 49:55 mark, the Buckeyes had a free kick that Amanda Ball tapped to Lara Dickenmann. Dickenmann sent a long ball towards the goal from the left side that hit the right post and went into the Blue Devil goal to tie the match, 1-1.
Duke did not led down and came right back as six minutes later Redmond found sophomore CJ Ludemann just outside the Buckeyes box where she blasted a 23-yard, right-footed shot that hit the top left of the OSU net to put the Blue Devils back ahead, 2-1. Ludemann’s goal was the second of her career and marked the second straight contest she has produced the game-winning goal for Duke.
“Well, BC [Elisabeth Redmond] made a great run down the sideline and basically drew a lot of people,” said Ludemann. “I was left alone in the middle of the field and she fed me a perfect ball. I had a couple of touches, I set it up, and then I took a shot. I’ve been really wanting to shoot and I hadn’t really hit one from far out. I kind of wound up and crossed my fingers.”
The Blue Devil defense held strong the rest of the way as Ohio State notched two final shots, which one went high and the other was saved by Duke goalkeeper Allison Lipsher. A product of Honolulu, Hawaii, Lipsher finished the match with two saves, but the goal allowed broke a streak of 252:46 minutes without surrendering a goal. In the two contests over the weekend, Lipsher allowed one goal in 149.21 minutes and posted six saves. For her efforts, Lipsher was named the Duke adidas Classic Defensive MVP.
“Friday night we needed her [Lipsher] really big,” said Church. “The first two minutes of the games, they played a great ball in and we defended it really poorly, but she made an unbelievable save. Ali’s a leader. We expect her to do a lot of good things. What she’s doing this year, is she’s pulling the one and two goals back a game. She’s always been very solid, but now she’s pulling one or two goals back, and that’s something we need. We can play our line a little higher because we’ve got Ali back there and she covers in behind our line. She’s doing what you want your seniors to do: she’s playing like a top keeper in the country just like she is.”
In the game, Duke held an 11-6 shot advantage. Robertson finished with two saves in 90 minutes of action in goal for Ohio State.
“We had a lot of people making plays,” said Church. “ With Ali in the back, our defenders and then of course CJ making that great shot. She does that in practice, she’s capable of doing that. We’ve been trying to get her to be more aggressive and to take those shots. She’s a heck of a player, and it was just really good to see her score that goal.”
After scoring three goals in a 5-0 victory over Ohio State on Friday, North Carolina’s Casey Nogueira was named Offensive MVP. Other members of the All-Tournament team were Ariel Harris (North Carolina), CJ Ludemann (Duke), Laura Dickenson (Ohio State), Ashlyn Harris (North Carolina), Katie Hodgson (San Francisco), Kelly Hathorn (Duke), Casey Nogueira (North Carolina), Ashley Bowyer (Ohio State), Allison Lipsher (Duke), Kristina Hall (San Francisco) and Lorraine Quinn (Duke).
The Blue Devils will next open Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) action on Thursday, Sept. 27 as Duke will host fourth-ranked Virginia at 7:00 p.m.
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