DURHAM, N.C. – Coming off advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight for the fourth time out of the last six years, the Duke women’s soccer team was listed tied eighth in the final NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I women’s rankings released on Tuesday.
Duke concludes the NSCAA poll for the second straight year in the top 10 nationally, which is a first for the Blue Devils over their 25 years of women’s soccer at Duke.
In the top 10 were North Carolina, Penn State, Stanford, Florida State, BYU, UCLA, San Diego State, Florida, Duke and Virginia.
Head coach Robbie Church and the Blue Devils registered a 15-6-2 overall record, including knocking off second-seeded Virginia, 3-1, in the NCAA Sweet 16. Duke dropped a 1-0 decision at top-seeded Penn State in the Elite Eight even though the Blue Devils outshot the Lady Lions, 19-7.
As a team, the Blue Devils had one of the best offensive seasons in school history as Duke set a school-record for points with 207, breaking the previous record of 203 in 2004. The Blue Devils posted 65 goals, which ranked second on the all-time list, while dishing a school-record 77 assists. Junior Laura Weinberg and redshirt junior Kim DeCesare combined for 32 goals, which was a new Blue Devil record for a scoring duo.
Weinberg, who is a product of Boca Raton, Fla., set a new school mark for points in a season with 44 as she notched 16 goals and 12 assists. A native of Massapequa Park, N.Y., DeCesare added 16 goals and a school-record five multi-goal games.
In the national rankings, freshman Cassie Pecht led the NCAA with 15 assists, while Weinberg was sixth in assists, ninth in points and 13th in goals. Her points per game ledger of 1.91 ranked 11th overall. Pecht, who is out of Mechanicsville, Pa., earned National Freshman of the Year accolades from TopDrawerSoccer.com along with ACC Freshman of the year honors. Junior defender Natasha Anasi earned her second straight NSCAA All-America honor and was one of the finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy. She became just the second Duke student-athlete to be named NSCAA All-America on two occasions.
The Blue Devils will graduate at least five seniors, including starting goalkeeper Tara Campbell, starting defenders Maddy Haller, Erin Koballa and Libby Jandl and starting midfielder Nicole Lipp. DeCesare and Callie Simpkins are redshirt juniors and can return for a fifth season. With the return of DeCesare and Simpkins, Duke will welcome back all 65 goals the Blue Devils scored in 2012.