LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The fourth-ranked Duke women's soccer team closed the USC Futbol Classic on Sunday with a 4-0 blanking of Washington State at McAlister Field in Los Angeles, Calif. The Blue Devils moved to 4-1 on the season and has now outscored opponents by a 20-5 ledger.
Coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to 20th-ranked Florida last Sunday, the Blue Devils rebounded this weekend by outscoring Southern California and Washington State, 6-1. Duke's opponents came into the weekend with a 4-1 record.
"We have had a wondering trip overall," commented head coach Robbie Church. "Today we did a great job of focusing and building on the second half of the USC game. That might have been the biggest game of the year for us, after getting the two second half goals to win."
The Blue Devils opened the match on the attack and at the 22:33 mark of the first half, redshirt junior Kim DeCesare collected her third goal of the weekend and sixth of the season off an assist from Cassie Pecht. DeCesare, a native of Massapequa Park, N.Y., has moved to the forward position in 2012 and had collected only seven goals over her first two years at Duke.
"She is playing well," commented Church on the play of DeCesare. "She is finishing well. When she was inside the box, she was lethal with her head and foot today. Kim has become a really good goal scorer. She isn't getting that many chances but she is scoring on those opportunities."
Even though Duke made six substitutions late in the first half, the Blue Devils kept attacking the Cougars and redshirt junior Callie Simpkins headed in her first goal of the season, off assists from Maddy Haller and Katy Colas.
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 5-2 shot advantage.
"In the first half we had the ball a lot, but were not dangerous enough with the possession," said Church.
After DeCesare was fouled in the box to start the second half, junior Laura Weinberg connected on a penalty kick as she hit the back of the net past Washington State goalkeeper Gurveen Clair. A product of Boca Raton, Fla., Weinberg now owns four goals and three assists on the season.
In the 83rd minute, Simpkins registered back-to-back shots that were blocked but able to grab a loose ball and poke it through the Cougar defense for her second goal of the match to put the Blue Devils ahead, 4-0. The two-goal outburst by Simpkins on Sunday marked the first time in her career she has totaled multiple goals in a match.
For the match, Duke held a 16-6 advantage in shots.
"Today we didn't want to drop a level," said Church. "I think we played the most complete game of the year against Washington State. I was very impressed. These out of conference wins are very important as you put together the resume for the NCAA Tournament."
Tara Campbell, who is a senior goalkeeper from Cincinnati, Ohio, notched her first shutout of the season and 28th of her career on Sunday. Playing all 90 minutes, Campbell registered four saves on the afternoon. She is only six shutouts away from matching the Duke career mark of 34 held by Melissa Carr.
"It was nice to get a shutout," said Church. "We had great team defending from our forwards, midfielders and backs to the goalkeeper.
The Blue Devils will return home to host the Duke Nike Classic on Friday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 9 at Koskinen Stadium. Duke will welcome a stellar field that includes eighth-ranked Marquette, 19th-ranked North Carolina and San Diego. On Friday, Sept. 7, North Carolina will host Marquette at 5:00 p.m., followed by Duke vs. San Diego at 7:30 p.m.