DURHAM, N.C. - For the seventh time in the last eight contests, Kayla McCoy found the back of the net, as her second-half goal propelled the No. 17 Duke Blue Devils (10-2-2, 4-1-1 ACC) to a 2-0 victory against the Virginia Tech Hokies (7-4-3, 3-3-0 ACC) Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium.
After a lackluster first half on both sides, McCoy broke the scoreless tie by burying her eighth goal of the season in the 67th minute off assists from Ella Stevens and Kat McDonald to give Duke a 1-0 advantage. The duo worked the ball into the box for McCoy, who then turned and fired past the keeper into the left corner of the goal, giving her a score in four-straight games. With the tally, McCoy now has 34 for her career, tying KayAnne Gummersall (2006-09) for fifth all-time in Duke history. Her score also netted the 13th game-winning goal of her career, which is one shy of tying Elizabeth Redmond (2006-09) for third in program history.
“We knew going into the second half that we had to pick it up. The energy was lacking and we weren’t exactly playing the kind of game we wanted to play,” McCoy said. “In the locker room, [head coach] Robbie [Church] told us we needed to bring the energy, bring a little more fire. Erwin [van Bennekom] changed our formation and tactics and it really worked in the second half.”
Stevens earned her team-leading eighth assist of the season on the goal, while McDonald picked up her second dime this year. Stevens, who entered the game ranking second in the ACC and eighth nationally in assists, now has 25 for career. That total puts her four away from tying Mollie Pathman (2010-13) for third in DWS history.
Duke added on an insurance goal in the 86th minute, as a Virginia Tech foul set up a free kick from just outside the 18' for Karlie Paschall. The sophomore stepped up and buried the kick for her third goal of the season, giving the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead they would take to the final whistle.
“I think the change we made at halftime definitely helped, but the execution of our players today was class,” associate head coach Erwin van Bennekom said. “We found the open player way more in the second half and that changed the whole game. Second half we kept creating opportunities and the girls kept finding the open player and that led us to two goals.”
The win improves Duke to 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and gives the Blue Devils 14 victories in their last 16 ACC regular season contests. It also extends Duke’s dominance at home, as it improves to 26-2-0 in the last 28 games played at Koskinen.
It was a lackluster start on both sides, as there were only three shots in the first 45 minutes of play, all for the Blue Devils. Duke turned up the pressure out of the gates in the second half, reeling off seven shots and putting five on goal in the first 10 minutes of action. The Blue Devils finished the match with 16 shots to Tech's two, putting 10 on target. The Hokies did not get an attempt until the 58th minute, when Karlie Johnson put a shot on goal that was easily handled by Brooke Heinsohn.
Heinsohn finished with one save on two shots faced. The Blue Devil keeper now has seven shutouts this season and is one away from cracking the Blue Devil top 10 list for single-season clean sheets.
“We’re going to give the girls a couple days off after this week,” van Bennekom said. “They had midterms last week, so let them relax a little bit. Then we get ready for Clemson, which will be a tough matchup on the road."
After a successful 2-0-0 weekend at home, the Blue Devils will hit the road for a Saturday, Oct. 13 matchup against the Tigers at Historic Riggs Field. The match is set for a 5 p.m. ET start and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.
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