DURHAM, N.C.ó Senior night at Duke University was extra special on Thursday as the 28th-ranked Blue Devils cruised to a 4-2 victory over 25th-ranked Miami (9-5-3, 4-3-1) at Koskinen Stadium. With the win, Duke broke a three-match streak where it had tied Wake Forest, Maryland and Florida State as the Blue Devils improved to 8-3-6 overall and 3-2-4 in the ACC.
Blue Devil senior’s Andrea Crane and Allison Lipsher were honored prior to the match for the dedication and hard work over the last four years and both earn the starting nod. With the victory, Duke is now guaranteed a spot in the upcoming ACC Tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., which takes place from Nov. 7-10 at the Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. It also boosts the Blue Devils chances of receiving an NCAA Tournament bid.
“It feels great,” said Duke Head Coach Robbie Church on getting the victory and breaking the tying streak. “Not only to get a win but to score a lot of goals and get a bit of a lead over the course of the game. All week I was saying that we were ready to explode on somebody, especially after the last game.”
Duke took the first shot of the match in the 13th minute off the foot of sophomore Jane Alukonis, but Miami then took control of the match taking the next five shots.
In the 16th minute, Brittney Steinbruch and Akilah Moore each had attempts five seconds apart but Duke defenders Kelly McCann and Sara Murphy each blocked the shots. After two more shots by Lindsay Curtin and Chelsea Pederson of Miami, the Hurricanes got on the board in the 21st minute.
Jessica Wyble sent a corner kick near the top of the Duke goal box to Curtin, who settled the ball and blasted a 22-yard rocket into the top of the Blue Devil goal to take a 1-0 lead. With Duke going down a goal, the Blue Devils had to come from behind for the fifth straight match.
The Blue Devils didn’t waste any time evening the score as just 38 seconds later sophomore Elisabeth Redmond sent a cross in from the right side to the near post where junior Kelly Hathorn was waiting. Hathorn, who is from Durham, N.C., placed the ball in-between Miami goalkeeper Lauren McAdam and the right post for her fifth goal of the season.
“It was very important,” Church commented on getting the tying goal so quick. “We made a mistake, we knew what they were going to run, we went over it in practice and we fell asleep on it. That was disappointing. But I was very proud that we didn’t dwell on it and we moved onto the next play.”
Duke freshman Kendall Bradley had two chances in the 39th and 40th minutes off corner kicks but one was blocked and the other went wide left. At the end of the first period, Miami held a 10-6 shot advantage.
The Blue Devils came out in the second half and took the first shot just one minute and 53 seconds into play by Redmond. Duke stayed on the attack taking three out of the next four shots and then the Blue Devils broke the match open.
After not playing in the first half and starting the second stanza, freshman Rebecca Allen received a pass from Redmond and sophomore CJ Ludemann and blasted a 22-yard shot that hit the top of the net to give Duke a 2-1 lead at the 60:29 mark.
For Redmond, a native of Morristown, N.J., she posted her team-best 10th and 11th assists of the season tonight, which moves her into a tie for second on Duke’s single season assist chart. Redmond has now collected eight assists this season to put the Blue Devils ahead or tie the match.
A little over 10 minutes later, Ludemann sent a direct kick into Allen where she took two touches, turned and fired her second goal of the match past McAdam to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead. Allen, who is from Jenks, Okla., is now tied for second on the team with five goals, after playing only 36 minutes on Thursday evening.
“I knew I had to focus and not worry about not playing in the first half,” said Allen. “I needed to do what I had to do to help my team out. I was focused on doing everything that I could right.”
Duke kept adding to the lead in the 74th minute as Bradley stole a pass from a Miami player and then fed the ball to Ludemann. A Holtsville, N.Y., product, Ludemann raced up the middle of the field for 25 yards and cranked a 26-yard shot to the top left of the net past McAdam.
Miami added an interesting goal late off a pass that flicked off Brittany Macdonald’s head and into the Duke goal at the 86:59 mark.
“I think a lot of nerves set in during the first half and we didn’t connect many passes and we played erratically,” said Church. “I think at halftime we really settled down and made some adjustments and pointed out some things that we had to do. Kind of ironic that Rebecca Allen, who didn’t play at all in the first half, got two goals in the second. I missed her, I forgot her on the sidelines.”
After getting outshot 10-6 in the first half, Duke held a 13-5 advantage in the second 45 minutes to finish with a 19-15 lead in shots. In the series with Miami, the Blue Devils now lead 4-0 and have outscored the Hurricanes 14-4 in those contests. The four goals allowed by Miami was tied for the most scored against the squad all season.
The four goals on the evening was the most scored for Duke against an ACC opponent since registering nine goals against Virginia Tech on Sept. 30, 2004.
“It feels great,” said Allen on getting the win. “We knew that a win was around the corner. We were also hoping that we would have a big win where we would pound a team and that’s what we did tonight.”
Duke will next travel to Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 3 for a 7:00 p.m. match to conclude the regular season.
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