LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Ninety minutes of play and one overtime shootout were not enough to determine a winner, but fourth-ranked Duke outlasted No. 10 Louisville in the evening’s second shootout, surpassing the Cardinals by a 1-0 score Friday at Trager Stadium.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Sammi Steele denied Louisville on two of its three attempts in the second round of shootouts and seniors Rose Tynan and Erin Scherrer both found the back of the cage to secure the critical ACC victory. The Blue Devils improved to 12-3 on the season and 4-1 in conference action with the gritty win - the sixth straight for head coach Pam Bustin's squad.
“I’m so pleased for so many reasons,” Bustin said. “It was a very defensive game today and I’m pleased we were able to keep our composure and keep up our fight. I’m a little disappointed in the fact that we didn’t create more of the attack that we normally create and that we know how to create. We kind of got caught in the defensive mode. But we lasted … It’s a shame we weren’t able to finish it in overtime but their goalkeeper made some great saves … For us to finish it with a win against probably the best goalkeeper in the country, just really pleased and proud for their belief and for their perseverance.”
Duke’s defensive unit held Louisville without a shot until the 61st minute in regulation and neutralized that corner attempt by the Cardinals. The Blue Devils placed a shot on cage with 19 seconds remaining and then generated a corner opportunity of their own, but could not break through before the end of the half.
Duke outshot Louisville, 4-0, in the first overtime period but the game was sent into a second overtime. Both teams had chances in that stretch and a late defensive stand by the Blue Devils closed out yet another scoreless period.
A back and forth first round of shootouts ended in a stalemate before Steele and Louisville goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran both forced misses early in the second round. Tynan and the Cardinals’ Mercedes Pastor were each successful on their respective attempts and a made attempt by Scherrer put Duke ahead, 2-1. Steele came up with a stop on the next Louisville attempt to secure the victory for the Blue Devils.
“Sammi made changes throughout the shootout that were great,” Bustin said. “She made the changes necessary to make the saves that she did or force some of the shots that she did.”
Steele wrapped up regulation and the two overtime periods with a pair of saves while McFerran had three on the other end.
The shootout contest marked the second in as many meetings between the two teams, as Louisville earned a 3-2 overtime shootout victory last fall in the semifinals of the ACC Championship.
“Every game in the ACC is going to be a battle like this,” Bustin said. “We have to come ready to battle, ready to last. Louisville is a great team and they played well tonight. The defensive battle was there. Our senior leadership and Margaux [Paolino] and Jillian [Wolgemuth] did really well to continue to lead the team and hold steady.”
The Blue Devils return to action next weekend, welcoming Boston College for Senior Night at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium Friday, Oct. 19. Opening pass back is set for 6 p.m. on ACC Network Extra. Duke will honor seniors Caroline Andretta, Morgan Bitting, Christy Palazzese, Scherrer and Tynan and graduate student Tessa Gote at the conclusion of the match.