BLACKSBURG, Va.- For the second time this season, Duke University junior Laura Weinberg registered a golden goal as the 5-9 forward lifted the seventh-ranked Blue Devil women's soccer team past 15th-ranked Virginia Tech, 3-2 in overtime, on Thursday evening in Blacksburg, Va. Weinberg collected two goals on the night as Duke notched a key road victory at Thompson Field.
"This was a crucial game in our schedule," said Duke head coach Robbie Church. "Virginia Tech is a very good team. For us to go on the road to play back-to-back games against top 15 teams in a short period of time, this was big time for us to come up here to get a win. It was one of the more impressive wins we have had in our 12 years here."
With the victory, Duke moves to 9-3-1 overall and 3-2-1 in ACC action, while Virginia Tech falls to 10-3, 2-3. The Blue Devils played their fourth overtime match of the season and is now 2-1-1 in those contests.
Duke and Virginia Tech kicked off the match trading shots before the Hokies got on the board at the 30:15 mark as Ashley Meier blasted a shot that went off the crossbar, but it came right back to her feet and she was able to hit the back of the net on the second attempt to give Virginia Tech a 1-0 advantage.
At the end of the first half, Duke was outshot by an 8-4 ledger. The four shots matched a season low for the Blue Devils and Duke was outshot in the first stanza for only the fifth time this year, including the second straight.
"I thought we shot ourselves in the foot in the first half," commented Church. "We came out, played well early and had a couple of opportunities. Then all of a sudden we started giving balls away. It wasn't anything they were doing, it was what we were not doing. We slowly, but surely, started playing better at the end of the first half."
Coming out in the second half, Duke changed its formation to a 4-4-2 as Church felt like the team was getting beat in the midfield. The formation change worked as the Blue Devils were able to start generating more offense, after only four first half shots.
"They had numbers at midfield in the first half and they were finding the extra player really well and that was hurting us," said Church. "We changed and matched their system. I thought our midfield was terrific. We became ball winners in the midfield, were able to attack them off the dribble and attack them off the combination play. It was a great second half."
The Blue Devils were able to even the match, 1-1, in the 67th minute as Laura Weinberg took a ball in the midfield and drove just outside the box and rocketed in her 12th goal of the season. Duke wasted no time taking the lead less than five minutes later as Mollie Pathman served in a ball from the left side to a leaping junior Kaitlyn Kerr, who headed in her third goal of the year.
With the Blue Devils ahead 2-1, Duke could not get the ball out of the box in the 76th minute off a corner kick by Virginia Tech. Kelsey Loupee of the Hokies was able to capitalize hitting the right corner of the net to tie the score, 2-2.
At the end of the second half, the Blue Devils held a 16-12 shot advantage as Duke outshot Virginia Tech, 12-4, over the final 45 minutes.
Duke began the first overtime period with an excellent shot off the left foot of freshman Cassie Pecht, but it went just over the crossbar. The Blue Devils continued to stay on the attack and 6:42 into the extra frame redshirt junior Kim DeCesare sent a cross into the box where Weinberg took a couple of touches, turned around and hit a left-footed shot that went off Hokie goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts, off the post and into the back of the net. Weinberg's second goal of the night gave the Blue Devils a 3-2 overtime win.
Weinberg, who is out of Boca Raton, Fla., now owns 13 goals on the year, which moves her into tied for seventh place on Duke's single season goals list. She also moved into eighth place on the Blue Devil single-season points list. In the career charts, Weinberg moved into seventh place on the points list with 72, tied for eighth with nine game-winning goals and into sole possession of second place with eight multi-goal contests.
In goal for the Blue Devils, senior Tara Campbell collected one save in 96:42 minutes of action. Duke outshot Virginia Tech, 18-12, for the match as Weinberg led all players with seven attempts; Kerr added five and Pecht two shots.
The Blue Devils will return home to host 13th-ranked Boston College on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1:00 p.m., at Koskinen Stadium.