Duke (8-8-4) at #24 Colorado College (15-4-2) Saturday, Nov. 16 • 3:00 PM • Colorado Springs, Colo. Stewart Field • www.CCTigers.com
Duke Heads West for NCAA Tournament First Round Saturday... For the 11th straight year and the 20th time in school history, the Duke women’s soccer team (8-8-4) will compete in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 3:00 p.m., in the first round on the road at 24th-ranked Colorado College (15-4-2) at Stewart Field in Colorado Springs, Colo. Saturday’s contest will be aired live on www.cctigers.com and can also be followed via Twitter @Duke_WSOC. The winner of the Duke/Colorado College contest will advance to the NCAA Second Round and will face the winner of the second-seeded Florida versus Jacksonville contest.
A Look at Colorado College... Colorado College has posted a 15-4-2 overall record this season, including a 9-0 mark at home under the direction of head coach Geoff Bennett, who is in his 15th year at the helm. The Tigers, which played host to the first national collegiate championship for women’s soccer in 1980, will be making their 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the second straight. Colorado College has been led on the year by Jessie Ayers with 13 goals and 27 points, while goalkeeper Kate Scheele owns 11 shutouts and a 0.77 goals-against average. The Tigers received an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Conference USA Championship with a 3-0 victory over North Texas on Sunday.
The Series with Colorado College... Duke and Colorado College will meet for the second time in school history. The previous meeting came on Sept. 21, 1991 in the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill. The Tigers posted a 4-2 overtime victory over the Blue Devils.
Active NCAA Games Played Leaders... Among active career stat leaders, Duke’s Natasha Anasi and Laura Weinberg each are tied for the NCAA lead with 93 games played over the last four years. The duo is tied with Marissa Diggs (UCF) and Ashley Nicol (UCF). Kaitlyn Kerr (Duke) and Kristina Trujic (UCF) are second with 92 matches.
Heading Home to Colorado... Duke University redshirt junior Meghan Thomas and freshman Lizzy Raben will head to their home state of Colorado this weekend when the Blue Devils face Colorado College. Raben is a product of Greenwood Village, Colo., that is about an hour away from Colorado College. She has been to Colorado Springs for many games, ODP contests and U.S. Training Center events. She played club soccer with Colorado College freshman Meghan Kilkenny for 2-3 years on the Storm and Rush. Thomas is from Castle Rock, Colo., which is about 45 minutes from Colorado Springs.
Scoring in the NCAAs... Duke boasts eight players who have scored goals in the NCAA Tournament -- Kaitlyn Kerr (9), Laura Weinberg (3), Kim DeCesare (6), Mollie Pathman (3), Gilda Doria (2), Katie Trees (2), Kelly Cobb (2) and Cassie Pecht. Both Weinberg and Kerr have registered at least one goal in three straight NCAA Tournaments. In just three years, Kerr is Duke’s all-time NCAA Tournament scorer with nine tallies, including five in 2011, while DeCesare is second with six goals. With her five assists in 2012, Weinberg is Duke’s all-time assist leader with six over three years.
On the Road... Duke owns a 3-5-2 mark on the road this season and is 2-3 versus ranked opponents. Senior Laura Weinberg has scored four of the Blue Devils’ five goals on the road this year. Freshman Toni Payne has notched two goals and three assists on the road.
Duke in the NCAA Tournament... The Blue Devils reached the big show for the 11th straight season and the 20th time in school history. Duke has won at least one contest in the tournament in 10 out of the last 11 years. The Blue Devils hold an overall record of 29-19 in tournament play and advanced to the NCAA Championship match in 2011 before falling to Stanford, 1-0. Duke is coming off making back-to-back Elite Eight appearances for the first time since the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. The 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances for Duke ranks tied for 12th overall -- UNC (32), Notre Dame (21), Virginia (20), Penn State (19), Texas A&M (19), Wake Forest (18), UCLA (17), Stanford (16), Florida State (14), Portland (14), West Virginia (14), Boston College (11), Duke (11), Florida (11). Over the last two years in the NCAA Tournament, Duke has outscored its opponents, 29-7.
The Senior Class... Over the last four years, the Duke senior class has led the Blue Devils to a 56-26-11, an appearance in the 2011 national championship game, a 2011 ACC regular season title, a NCAA Sweet 16 finish as well as an NCAA Elite Eight appearance. The class is the winningest four-year group at Duke under the direction of head coach Robbie Church.
Thomas Standing Tall in the Net... After missing 10 straight matches with a shoulder injury, redshirt junior Meghan Thomas has started the last seven matches, leading Duke to a 4-2-1 mark in those contests. Prior to allowing three goals at North Carolina and two at Florida State, Thomas posted two shutouts, a 0.39 goals-against average and 22 saves in five matches. The 6-2 goalkeeper’s nine saves at Maryland was the most by a Blue Devil keeper all season. Thomas came back to collect eight saves at ninth-ranked Notre Dame in a double-overtime win. For her efforts at Maryland, Thomas was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week and to the CS360 Primetime Performers list on Oct. 15. Thomas earned CS360 Primetime Performers list accolades for the second straight week on Oct. 23.
NCAA RPI... The latest NCAA RPI was released this week with Duke moving to No. 28. The Blue Devils’ challenging schedule shows in the RPI -- losses to Virginia (1), North Carolina (5), two to Florida State (3), Wake Forest (24), UCLA (6) and South Carolina (13). Colorado College is NO. 19 in the latest RPI.
Consecutive Starts... Senior defender Natasha Anasi owns a team-best 69-game consecutive starts streak. Over her career, Anasi has helped lead Duke to 38 shutouts on the defensive end. She is a two-time All-America and MAC Hermann Trophy watch list selection. The 69 straight starts is tied fifth in Duke’s record books.