DURHAM, N.C. - Junior Laura Weinberg registered two goals on the night as the fourth-ranked Duke women's soccer team cruised past Clemson, 3-0, in ACC action at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. With the victory, the Blue Devils improved to 8-2-1 overall and 2-1-1 in league play, while moving their unbeaten streak at home to 20 matches dating back to last season.
The Blue Devils jumped on the Lady Tigers (5-5-2, 0-4-0) early with six shots before freshman Cassie Pecht blasted a shot at Clemson goalkeeper Hunter Rittgers, who saved the attempt. Duke's Weinberg was there though to grab the rebound and hit the back of the net for her 10th goal of the year.
"I am pretty excited about it [scoring 11 goals in 11 matches], but it has really been a team effort," said Weinberg. "Everyone is doing their role, doing it really well and that has been helping a lot. I have been lucky to get those goals."
Duke added six more attempts before junior Gilda Doria and junior Kaitlyn Kerr found Weinberg in the box where she took a touch and hit the right corner of the net for her second tally of the night.
"I thought it was a nice performance by the girls, especially the first half," said Duke head coach Robbie Church. "I thought we were really good in the first half. I am very proud of them and the level that we played in the first half."
With the two goals, it marked the seventh career contest Weinberg has notched multiple tallies, including the third time this season. The Boca Raton, Fla., product also moved into fifth place on Duke's all-time goals list with 29 tallies and ninth on the career points list with 68. Weinberg owns 11 goals in 11 matches this season, including four game-winning tallies.
"She has had a fantastic season," said Church on Weinberg. "I thought she was really good in the first half. She was quick with the ball, she beat players off the dribble and the second goal especially she was really composed in the box and being able to finish that. We need those goals. We have a couple more that are sitting out there."
Clemson was held to one shot off the leg of Jenna Polonsky, which came in the 38th minute. At the end of the first stanza, Duke posted a 22-1 shot advantage. Weinberg tallied five attempts, while Doria added four as Duke led 2-0.
The Blue Devils continued to put the pressure on the Lady Tigers in the second half firing shot after shot. Pecht, who is out of Mechanicsburg, Pa., received a corner kick in the 74th minute and rocketed a shot that hit the crossbar for one of Duke's numerous chances.
Finally in the 79th minute, Pecht made a great run down the right side and as Rittgers came out of the box to challenge Pecht she was able to keep the ball away from the diving goalkeeper. Pecht then crossed it to an awaiting sophomore Katie Trees, who headed in her fourth tally of the year.
With Duke leading 3-0, Church emptied his bench as 22 different student-athletes saw action on the night for the Blue Devils.
The shutout on the night was just the third this year and 29th of senior Tara Campbell's career. A product of Cincinnati, Ohio, played the entire 90 minutes, but didn't register a save. Rittgers added 11 saves for Clemson. Campbell is only five shutouts from matching the Duke career record of 34 held by Melissa Carr.
As a team, Duke outshot Clemson, 31-4, on the night. The 31 shots was one shy of a single-season high, while its 14 shots on goal marked the fourth time this year the Blue Devils have tallied double-digit shots on frame.
"This was a huge win for us, we knew we had to get these three points," commented Weinberg. "Looking forward we are focused on Virginia and hoping to get six points on the weekend which would be huge for us."
Duke will next travel to third-ranked Virginia on Sunday, Sept. 30 for a 2:00 p.m., contest aired live on ESPNU.
"It is always big with Virginia and we always have great games with them," said Church. "They have a wonderful style of soccer that they play, but it is an important match for us. We have beat a lot of people that we should have beaten, but we have had a couple games with top five or top 10 programs like Virginia, and we have been on the short end of those. I look forward to see how we come off this victory and go into Charlottesville, which is a really tough place to play and on the national TV scene, and see how are we going to perform in that game."
Laura Weinberg now owns eight career game-winning goals, which ranks tied for ninth all-time at Duke. Weinberg has scored goals in six out of the last seven matches.
Duke has outscored its opponents 22-5 at home this season and is 4-0-1 in those matches.