ATHENS, GA. – For the second straight year, the Duke women’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA College Cup off penalty kicks as the Blue Devils registered a 4-1 penalty kick win over 23rd-ranked South Carolina (14-6-3) at the Turner Soccer Complex in Athens, Ga. Out of the last eight appearances in the NCAA College Cup, Duke (8-5-7) has advanced to the second round in each of them.
“I felt like this was kinda how the whole season’s been, everything’s been very, very close,” said Duke Head Coach Robbie Church. “I’m very proud of our team. Let’s congratulate the University of South Carolina on playing a great game. They have huge hearts. They battled back from one goal down and they played well. This was probably one of the best matchups in the first round of the tournament. We’re just happy to be playing in the next round, to survive and advance. We’re looking forward to whoever we play.”
After the Duke bus got lost on the way to the field and arrived only 35 minutes prior to kickoff, the Blue Devils wasted no time getting on the attack as the Blue Devils totaled a corner kick four minutes into the match. Freshman Rebecca Allen then collected a header that was saved and a shot that was wide in the seventh minute for the Blue Devils.
Duke sophomore Elisabeth Redmond added two more shots and junior Lorraine Quinn blasted an attempt that went high over the next 20 minutes before South Carolina took its first shot by Mary Worthen in the 28th minute.
Redmond added another shot at the 32:46 mark before the Gamecocks had a flurry of attempts at the Blue Devil goal. Blakeley Mattern fired a shot that was blocked and Ashley Kirk had an attempt that was saved by Duke goalkeeper Allison Lipsher.
At the end of the first half, Blue Devil sophomore CJ Ludemann had a breakaway attempt but couldn’t put the ball in the net as it went just high. Duke held a 7-3 shot advantage 45 minutes into the match.
The Blue Devils continued to stay aggressive to start the second half as Ludemann and junior Kelly Hathorn had attempts over the first four minutes of play. Duke had excellent opportunities in the 51st through 53rd minutes as Ludemann and Redmond each took shots that were blocked and junior Christie McDonald fired a header that was saved by South Carolina goalkeeper Lindsay Thorstenson.
The Gamecocks added two more shots before Duke grabbed the first goal of the match off the foot of Quinn. A product of Farmingdale, N.Y., Quinn took a pass from McDonald and fired a 20-yard shot that hit the top shelf just inside the left panel for her fourth goal of the season and first of her career in the NCAA Tournament with 63:10 on the clock.
The goal for the Blue Devils broke a scoreless streak in NCAA Tournament action that spanned 3:22.15. Prior to Quinn’s tally, the last time Duke had put the ball in the net was against Yale in the 2005 NCAA Tournament off the foot by Darby Kroyer.
South Carolina wasted no time evening the score at 1-1 as Brittiny Rhodes found Mattern for her second goal of the season at the 65:29 mark. It took exactly two minutes and 19 seconds for the Gamecocks to even the match.
Sophomore KayAnne Gummersall and Ludemann added late shots but could not get anything past the Gamecock defense. At the end of regulation, Duke held a 15-9 shot advantage. For the ninth time this season, the Blue Devils headed into overtime.
In both overtimes, neither team was able to collect a shot and after 110 minutes of action, the Blue Devils and Gamecocks were knotted at 1-1. Duke headed to penalty kicks for the fifth time in school history and the third time in the last two years.
Redmond got things started for Duke as she hit the top right corner of the net to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead in penalty kicks. Laura Armstrong was up first for the Gamecocks and she hit the left post to give Duke the advantage. Blue Devil sophomore Jane Alukonis stepped up next and also hit the right corner to put Duke ahead 2-0.
“We started practicing penalty kicks two weeks early this year,” said Church. “With the way the season has gone, we thought that this could be the way we would advance. We have taken a lot of penalty kicks this year in practice.”
Kirk was up next for South Carolina and Lipsher made a diving stop to keep the Gamecocks off the board. Ludemann came right back to put the Blue Devils ahead 3-0, but Kim Miller hit the next one for South Carolina to cut the Duke advantage to 3-1. The Blue Devils could finish off the match if freshman Meaghan FitzGerald could connect on her attempt. The Cincinnati, Ohio native had not scored a goal all season but calmly found the net to give Duke the victory.
“Ali jumped in the middle of the huddle before penalty kicks and said lets go,” said Church. “We knew she was ready for this after that.”
Lipsher finished the night with two saves, including a key stop in late in the second half.
“USC was a great team,” said Duke freshman Gretchen Miller. “They responded right away, it was a tough battle both ways and they have great heart. We knew we had to do our best, give it everything we have. “
Duke will next face 13th-ranked Georgia on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., as the Bulldogs registered a 6-1 win over Alabama A&M on Friday night.
• Duke played an overtime game for the seventh time out of the last 11 matches. Also, for the fifth time out of the last seven matches.
• The Blue Devils registered their ninth tie of the season, which tied a school record. Duke last tied nine matches in 2002.
• Georgia leads the overall series with Duke, 2-1.