#12 Duke (3-1-0) vs. #9 West Virginia (3-0-1) Friday, Sept. 6 • 6:00 PM • Durham, N.C. Koskinen Stadium • Blue Devil Network (GoDuke.com)
Blue Devils to Host Stellar Field for Duke Nike Classic... Four of the best women’s soccer programs in the nation will convene in Durham, N.C., this weekend as the Blue Devils (3-1) will host the Duke Nike Classic on Friday, Sept. 6 and Sunday, Sept. 8 with No. 1 ranked North Carolina (4-0), No. 2 UCLA (4-0), No. 9 West Virginia (3-0-1) and 12th-ranked Duke seeing action. The action will kick off on Friday at 6:00 p.m., with West Virginia at Duke, followed by North Carolina taking on UCLA at 8:00 p.m. Sunday’s play will start at 11:00 a.m., with the Tar Heels versus the Mountaineers and Duke will close with UCLA at 1:00 p.m. All four matches will be played at Koskinen Stadium. Tickets are available by heading to www.GoDuke.com/tickets or by calling the Duke ticket office at (919) 681-2583. Fans not able to attend the games in person will be able to watch all four matches via the Blue Devil Network on www.GoDuke.com.
A Look at West Virginia... West Virginia enters the weekend with a 3-0-1 overall record with victories over Syracuse, Central Michigan and Morehead State. The lone tie was a 2-2 ledger at fourth-ranked Penn State. The Mountaineers have scored 10 goals in four matches, including two each by Kate Schwindel, Frances Silva, Kelsie Maloney and Cari Price. WVU is coached by Nikki Izzo-Brown and is coming off an 11-5-4 record in 2012.
The Series with West Virginia... Duke and West Virginia will play for the first time in school history.
A Look at UCLA... UCLA owns a 4-0 record to open the season, including a 1-0 win at seventh-ranked Notre Dame over the weekend. The Bruins have been led by Darian Jenkins with four goals, while Jenna Richmond has two tallies and Sarah Killion has four assists. UCLA has scored 10 goals in four matches. The Bruins are coached by Amanda Cromwell and is coming off an 18-3-2 record a year ago.
The Series with UCLA... UCLA and Duke will compete for the fifth time in school history. The Bruins lead the overall series, 3-1, and have won three straight matches since the Blue Devils claimed a 2-1 victory on Sept. 15, 1996 in the Carolina Nike Classic in Chapel Hill. UCLA defeated Duke, 2-1, on Sept. 21, 2003 in the Duke adidas Classic in Durham. The other two meetings came in the NCAA Tournament.
Offense Getting Closer... After posting only 29 shots the first two matches and few excellent scoring chances, the Duke offense was closer to coming alive in the UNC Nike Classic, posting 49 shots, including 22 on goal. Laura Weinberg leads the Blue Devils with 16 shots, while Kaitlyn Kerr (14), Kelly Cobb (12) and Kim DeCesare (11) each have double-digit shot attempts.
Slow Scoring Start... After the Blue Devils posted a school-record 207 points a year ago, Duke has opened the 2013 season with a slow start scoring only three goals in four matches. In 2012, Duke scored 16 goals over the first four contests. The three goals over four matches is the fewest scored since the 2007 campaign, when the Blue Devils scored one goal.
Solid Defense... In four matches to open the season, the Duke defense has allowed only one goal and notched three shutouts. The three shutouts ranks tied for first in the ACC along with Pittsburgh, Maryland, Florida State and North Carolina. Duke, along with Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State, have allowed only one goal this season in the ACC. The Blue Devil defense has featured as many as three rookies in back at times early on.
Blue Devils at Home... Duke enters Friday’s match at home with a 20-1-3 record at Koskinen Stadium dating back to the 2011 season. The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents at home 75-16 over the last two years. Duke has an all-time record of 165-56-21 in home contests at Koskinen Stadium. In head coach Robbie Church’s 12 years with the Blue Devils, Duke has posted an 84-21-14 mark at home.
Duke Classic Recent History... Since the 2007 campaign, the Blue Devils have posted a 10-0-2 record and outscored their opponents by a 36-10 ledger.
Freshmen Make Impact Immediately... Duke featured three freshmen starting during the opening weekend (Lizzy Raben, Rebecca Quinn and Christina Gibbons), which is the most since 2009 when Tara Campbell, Erin Koballa and Nicole Lipp started as freshmen. The Blue Devils started two freshmen on defense (Raben, Gibbons) for the first time since the 2002 campaign when Kate Seibert and Carolyn Ford started on defense as rookies. It is only the third time in school history two freshmen have started on defense in the season opener. A total of seven freshmen have seen action so far this season – Lizzy Raben, Christina Gibbons, Rebecca Quinn, Toni Payne, Krysia Sikora, Malinda Allen and Catherine Blair. Five started against New Mexico. Allen saw extensive action in the midfield and on defense over the weekend following the injury to Tabria Williford. Both Allen and Payne started versus New Mexico.
Kershner Nets Two Shutouts in Two Starts... Blue Devil redshirt sophomore Ali Kershner has been waiting for two years behind four-year starting keeper Tara Campbell to make her first start. Kershner was given the opportunity on Aug. 23 at 12th-ranked Texas A&M and made the most of her chance notching a shutout and three saves over 90 minutes. She came off the bench at South Carolina and didn’t allow a goal in 45 minutes. On Sunday versus New Mexico, Kershner netted her second straight shutout in a 1-0 victory. She became the first Duke goalkeeper in school history to register two shutouts in her first two collegiate starts. Kershner had played in five matches in 2012 prior to this season.
Noting Duke... • Redshirt junior Meghan Thomas notched her first collegiate shutout against Kennesaw State and owns a 0.67 goals-against average in two matches in 2013. • Duke featured five freshmen starting against New Mexico, which is the second-most by any ACC squad this season. Clemson started seven freshmen in the last match. • After getting injured against Kennesaw State, junior defender Tabria Williford is not expected to play in the Duke Nike Classic with concussion-like symptoms. • All three goals scored by Duke this season have come by seniors -- Kim DeCesare, Natasha Anasi and Kaitlyn Kerr. The only two assists have been by freshmen -- Toni Payne, Christina Gibbons. • The Blue Devils scored a first half goal against New Mexico, which marked the first one of the season in the first stanza. • Duke has outshot its opponents in the opening four matches by a 78-27 ledger. • Freshman Christina Gibbons is the only Blue Devil that has played all 360 minutes over the first four matches. • After missing the 2012 season with a knee injury, redshirt junior Alex Straton will miss the 2013 campaign after having knee surgery. • The win at Texas A&M marks the sixth straight year the Blue Devils have opened the season with a win. Robbie Church is 11-1-1 in season openers over his tenure at Duke. • The Blue Devils will feature tri-captains in 2013 with Kim DeCesare, Gilda Doria and Kaitlyn Kerr getting the nod from their teammates. • Duke returns 95.4 percent of its scoring from the 2012 season, including 62 of 65 goals scored. • Dating back to the 2011 campaign, 10 of the 11 Blue Devil losses have been by one goal. • Duke is coming off advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight for the fourth time out of the last six years. • The Blue Devils welcome the 10th-ranked recruiting class in the nation.
Consecutive Starts... Senior defender Natasha Anasi owns a team-best 54-game consecutive starts streak. Over her career, Anasi has helped lead Duke to 35 shutouts on the defensive end. She is a two-time All-America and MAC Hermann Trophy watch list selection.
In the Rankings... Duke is No. 12 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire and Soccer America polls, while coming in at No. 13 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll. West Virginia is ninth in the Soccer America and 19th in the NSCAA ledger. UCLA is ranked second nationally in the Soccer America and third in the NSCAA polls.