Robbie Church.DURHAM, N.C.- The Duke women’s soccer team held its annual team banquet to officially wrap up the successful 2013 campaign, which saw the Blue Devils advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the fifth time out of the last seven years under the direction of head coach
A total of six awards were given out on the evening including Newcomer of the Year, Most Inspirational Player, Coaches Award, Most Outstanding Offensive Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Valuable Player. All awards except for the Coaches Award were voted on by the student-athletes.
Presented with the Most Valuable Player and Most Inspirational Player awards was redshirt senior Kim DeCesare. As a senior, she earned All-ACC Third Team accolades, after notching six goals, six assists and 18 points. DeCesare, who is out of Massapequa Park, N.Y., concluded her career with 29 goals, 15 assists and 73 points. DeCesare’s 29 goals ranked sixth all-time at Duke and her 73 points were ninth.
The Most Valuable Offensive Player award went to Toni Payne, who started 21 of 24 matches as a rookie for the Blue Devils. Payne, who is out of Birmingham, Ala., tallied three goals and five assists for 11 points on the year. She collected goals against Maryland, Notre Dame and Miami, while notching a career-best two assists against Pittsburgh.
Receiving the Most Valuable Defensive Player award was Natasha Anasi, who started all 24 contests on the defensive end for the Blue Devils in 2013. A product of Arlington, Texas, Anasi helped lead Duke to seven shutouts on the season and a total of 39 shutouts over the last four years. As a senior, she netted goals against Kennesaw State and in the NCAA Tournament versus fifth-ranked Florida. Anasi started her final 73 contests of her career.
Earning Newcomer of the Year accolades was Christina Gibbons. A product of Raleigh, N.C., Gibbons started all 24 contests, guided the Blue Devil defense to seven shutouts and played a team-best 2,228 minutes, which was a school-record for a freshman. One of the most consistent players on the team in 2013, Gibbons registered assists against Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament, Virginia Tech and Kennesaw State. She earned TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshmen Best XI, All-ACC Freshman team honors as well as Duke Classic All-Tournament team recognition during the season.
The staff presented the Coaches Award to the senior duo of Avery Rape and Kaitlyn Kerr. A four-year letterwinner for the Blue Devils, Rape appeared in 44 matches over her career at both the forward and defensive positions. Rape, who is out of Dallas, Texas, netted a goal and assist for three points at Duke.
A native of Bensalem, Pa., Kerr closed her Duke career with 76 points, 28 goals and 20 assists, all of which rank in the top 10 on the Blue Devil charts. The 5-5 midfielder started 81 of 96 career games and was Duke’s all-time leading scorer in NCAA Tournament games with 20 points and nine goals. As a senior, Kerr started all 24 matches, had five goals and three assists, including two game-winning goals against New Mexico and Pittsburgh.
As a team, Duke posted a 9-9-6 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the third straight year before falling at top-seeded Virginia Tech, 3-0.
MVP – Kim DeCesare
Most Valuable Offensive Player – Toni Payne
Most Valuable Defensive Player – Natasha Anasi
Most Inspirational Player – Kim DeCesare
Newcomer of the Year – Christina Gibbons
Coaches Award – Avery Rape, Kaitlyn Kerr