Miami (5-0-0) at #12 Duke (3-2-1) Thursday, Sept. 12 • 7:00 PM • Durham, N.C. Koskinen Stadium • NSCAATV.com
Duke to Open ACC Action Thursday Against Miami... Coming off playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, the 12th-ranked Duke women’s soccer team (3-2-1) will open ACC action on Thursday, Sept. 12 as the Blue Devils will welcome Miami (5-0-0) to Koskinen Stadium at 7:00 p.m. The match will be aired live on www.nscaatv.com. Duke will next host seventh-ranked Florida State on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1:00 p.m., before heading on the road for two matches.
A Look at Miami... Miami enters Thursday’s match with a 5-0 record and has outscored its opponents by a 15-5 ledger. The Hurricanes have been led by Ashley Flinn with six goals and 12 points, including three game-winning goals. Head coach Mary-Frances Monroe is in her first year with Miami.
The Series with Miami... Duke and Miami will meet for the ninth time in school history on Thursday with the Blue Devils leading the series, 8-1-1. Last season, Duke claimed a 3-2 overtime victory as Laura Weinberg netted the golden goal in Coral Gables, Fla. Cassie Pecht and Kim DeCesare also added goals last year. In meetings held in Durham, N.C., Duke owns a 4-0 mark and has outscored Miami, 14-3, in those meetings. The Blue Devils have shutout Miami in the last two contests and outscored them by a 7-3 ledger.
Challenging Schedule.. Duke’s non-conference schedule has been one of the toughest in the nation featuring four ranked opponents -- No. 6 UCLA, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 10 West Virginia and then 12th-ranked Texas A&M. The six opponents have combined for a 20-11-4 mark early this season.
Offense Getting Closer... After posting only 29 shots the first two matches and few excellent scoring chances, the Duke offense has been closer to coming alive in the UNC Nike Classic and the Duke Nike Classic, posting 88 shots, including 32 on goal. The Blue Devils are getting some excellent chances, but they have been hitting the post, crossbar, saved and just missing. Laura Weinberg leads the Blue Devils with 27 shots, while Kim DeCesare (22), Kaitlyn Kerr (18) and Kelly Cobb (18) and each have double-digit shot attempts. Mollie Pathman scored Duke’s only two goals in the Duke Nike Classic, which were penalty kicks.
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 five goals in six matches. The five goals in six matches is the lowest output in school history to start the year. The previous low was eight in 2005. Duke also had nine goals in six matches in 1996 and 1998. In the ACC stats, Duke ranks last in points (12), tied for last in goals (5), last in goals per game (0.83) and last in assists (0.33). The Blue Devils do rank third in the league with 117 shots. In 2012, Duke scored 24 goals over the first six contests.
In the NCAA Stats... After ranking in the top 10 of most of the offensive categories last year, Duke opens at 229th in scoring offense in the first NCAA stats release of the 2013 campaign. The Blue Devils are 55th in goals-against average, including a No. 57 listing by goalkeeper Ali Kershner. Miami enters the match ranking 19th in scoring offense (3.0) and features Ashley Flinn, who ranks ninth in goals per game (1.2) and 19th in points per game (2.4).
Solid Defense... In six matches to open the season, the Duke defense has allowed only four goals and notched three shutouts. The three shutouts ranks tied for fifth in the ACC. The Blue Devil defense has featured as many as three rookies in back at times early on. Duke’s four goals allowed marks only the eighth time in school history the Blue Devils have allowed four or less goals in the opening six games of the season.
Least Goals Allowed First Six Games 2 - 2011, 2005, 1988 3 - 2010, 2007, 1997, 1994 4 - 2000, 2013
Blue Devils at Home... Duke enters Thursday’s match at home with a 20-2-4 record at Koskinen Stadium dating back to the 2011 season. The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents at home 77-19 over the last three years. Duke has an all-time record of 165-57-22 in home contests at Koskinen Stadium. In head coach Robbie Church’s 13 years with the Blue Devils, Duke has posted an 84-22-15 mark at home.
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 Sept. 1 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.
Duke Battling Injuries... The Blue Devils have had their share of injuries in 2013 as Duke has been without starters Cassie Pecht and Gilda Doria for the entire season, while also not having the services of potential starter Alex Straton. Since the season started, starting freshman midfielder Rebecca Quinn went down with a foot injury and starting defender Tabria Williford suffered a concussion. Both Pecht and Doria are likely to miss the entire season, while Quinn is out for at least a month, Straton is out for the season and Williford is likely out for another week or two. Pecht and Doria have combined for 13 goals and 35 assists over their career.
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 a recent match. • All five goals scored by Duke this season have come by seniors -- Mollie Pathman, 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 six matches by a 117-55 ledger. • Freshman Christina Gibbons leads Duke with 559 minutes played so far this season. She has seen action in all but one minute on the defensive end. • 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 56-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 Soccer America and No. 15 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire ledger, while coming in at No. 14 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll. Miami is not ranked.