DURHAM, N.C. – Another game, another victory for the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils (10-1-0, 3-0-0 ACC), as they shut out the Pittsburgh Panthers (3-5-3, 0-2-1 ACC) 2-0 Sunday afternoon in the first annual Pride Game at Koskinen Stadium.
With the victory, the Blue Devils have now won 10-straight matches, expanding their school record streak that was set with Thursday’s win at No. 18 Notre Dame. It also moves Duke to 3-0-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2011 season when Duke made one of its three NCAA Finalist showings in school history.
The shutout effort also kept Duke’s scorching September rolling, as the Blue Devils are 7-0-0 and have outscored opponents 17-1. Sunday’s win marks the first time in school history that Duke has shut out its first three conference opponents (3-0 vs. Virginia Tech, 3-0 at Notre Dame, 2-0 vs. Pitt).
“It’s really tough to play three games in the span of a week, but I thought our kids gutted it out,” head coach Robbie Church said. “I thought we were much better in the second half. Passed the ball and connected more passes, attacked with a little more authority. We really wore them out.”
Sunday’s first 38 minutes of play did not provide much action thanks to a stifling Duke defense that kept Pitt without a shot on goal, while the Blue Devils registered three. Senior Ashton Miller broke the silence at the 38:37 mark, as a cross from Imani Dorsey deflected off a defender and into the possession of the Okemos, Mich., native, drilling her shot into the back of the net. The goal gave Miller her second score of the season and Duke the 1-0 advantage.
Duke would put a pair of shots on target to start the second half before Pitt would earn its first attempt on goal at 57:19. The Blue Devil defense kept their suffocating defense going strong, helping create chances on the offensive end that led to the day’s second goal. Ella Stevens drove in a low cross on a free kick to Miller, who would ricochet an attempt off a Pitt defender. The ball would settle into the feet of Kayla McCoy, who put a shot between the legs of the keeper and into goal to up Duke’s lead to 2-0.
The Blue Devils managed to earn several more chances throughout the match while keeping the Panthers to one more shot for the rest of the match. Duke would run out the clock to seal the victory.
EJ Proctor continues to dominate between the posts, tallying her third-straight shutout and fifth in the last six contests. Proctor, who is now 8-1-0 this season, drew within four of third place on the all-time shutouts list with her 25th. She also improved her career goals against average to 0.74, which continues to stand atop the record books.
“The best thing is we’ve gotten three-straight clean sheets, three wins and nine points, which keeps us at the top of the league,” Church said. “Now we just have to get some rest and get to work on some things before we head to play Louisville.”
Duke is back on the road for its next contest, taking on the Louisville Cardinals Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., with the broadcast televised on RSN.
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