LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Kim DeCesare scored two second half goals within a span of eight minutes to lift the fourth-ranked Duke women's soccer team to a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Southern California on Friday evening in the USC Futbol Classic in Los Angeles, Calif.
The Blue Devils improved to 3-1 on the season, while the Trojans dropped to 2-2. Duke will next take on Washington State (3-0) on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 2:30 p.m. (EST) to conclude the USC Futbol Classic. WSU defeated San Diego on Friday, 2-1.
"This was a big win against a team that was playing with a lot of emotion," commented Duke head coach Robbie Church. "To be out on the West Coast, we showed good character and played great soccer in the second half."
Southern California registered a quick goal to open the match in the sixth minute as Alex Quincey poked in a shot off a corner kick from Jordan Marada. The goal marked only the second first half goal allowed this season by the Blue Devils.
"We were under so much pressure early from Southern California," commented Duke head coach Church. "USC came out strong as it was a huge game for them and from the opening kickoff they put pressure on us. They play a very different style than we play and for the first 20-30 minutes, their style worked better than ours."
At the end of the first stanza, USC held a 7-4 shot advantage.
The Blue Devils came out in the second half on fire as they took three out of the first four shots before DeCesare connected on her first tally of the night at the 62:15 mark. A product of Massapequa Park, N.Y., DeCesare received a cross from the left side from Laura Weinberg, took one touch and finished her fourth goal of the season.
Less than eight minutes later, Weinberg sent in a corner kick to the head of Gilda Dora, who flicked the ball to the right post where DeCesare finished her fifth goal of the early season to give Duke a 2-1 advantage. With her five goals on the season, DeCesare has already matched a single-season career best as she notched five tallies a year ago.
A native of West Palm Beach, Fla., Doria now owns four assists on the season and 13 in her career.
"We switched Laura Weinberg from the right to the left side and she played one of the best halves of her career tonight," said Church.
Duke outshot Southern California, 10-6, in the second half and finished the contest with a 14-13 advantage in shots.
In goal for the Blue Devils, senior Tara Campbell registered four saves over 90 minutes of action to register the victory. Carolina Stanley added five saves for the Trojans in the match.
"After we scored two goals, USC put a lot of pressure on us and Tara made some big saves," said Church.