DURHAM, N.C. – After opening up the preseason last week, the 12th-ranked Duke women’s soccer team will head to No. 13 Clemson Friday, Aug. 11 in a 6 p.m. exhibition match at Riggs Field. Admission is free for all fans.
This will be the first action of the year for the Blue Devil squad that reached the NCAA quarterfinals last season, making it their fifth trip to the quarters or better in the last six years. Duke returns 10 starters and 24 total letterwinners from the 2016 campaign. A bulk of Duke’s offensive firepower returns as well with nine of its 11 top scorers returning, headlined by 2016 All-ACC selections Ella Stevens (10 goals) and Imani Dorsey (7 goals), as well as Taylor Racioppi (11 points in 11 matches).
Most of the defense that posted 11 shutouts last year comes back as well. Led by EJ Proctor, who was the 2015 NCAA College Cup Most Outstanding Player on Defense, other defensive stars back include preseason All-ACC selection Rebecca Quinn, Schuyler DeBree, Morgan Reid and Chelsea Burns.
The Blue Devils featured numerous injuries to key contributors a year ago and those standouts will be back in 2017 – Kayla McCoy, Quinn and Racioppi. Other returning letterwinners include Ashton Miller, Olivia Erlbeck, Casey Martinez, Mia Gyau, Mary Love Taylor, Lexi Magliarditi, Malinda Allen, Kat McDonald, Ana Munro, Emma Carlson, Mackenzie Coles and Emily Wilson.
Duke also welcomes one of the top recruiting classes in the nation along with redshirt freshman goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn, who missed the 2016 campaign as she was playing with the U.S. U-20 women’s national team.
Church’s squad enters Friday’s contest preseason ranked No. 12 overall in the United Soccer Coaches top 25 that was released last week. With the listing, the Blue Devils have now been preseason ranked in the top 20 nationally for the fifth time and top 15 for the fourth time over the last six seasons.
Clemson is coming off a 2016 season that saw the Tigers go 14-5-4 overall. The Tigers captured a share of the ACC Regular Season title and advanced to the NCAA round of 16. Head coach Eddie Radwanski’s team comes into the exhibition match preseason ranked No. 13 and returns three starters from last year’s squad, including 2016 All-ACC selection Sam Staab.
Following the conclusion of Friday’s match, the Blue Devils will return to practicing until opening night on Friday, Aug. 18 against North Carolina in the UNC Nike Classic. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., in Cary, N.C. The home opener will follow shortly, as Duke hosts Xavier on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. For tickets to all of Duke’s home women’s soccer contests, contact the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at (919) 681-BLUE (2583) or call (877) 375-3853.