COLUMBIA, S.C. – The seventh-ranked Duke women’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 road decision at South Carolina on Sunday evening at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium in Columbia, S.C., as the Blue Devils closed a season-opening road trip that featured a 1-0 victory over 12th-ranked Texas A&M on Friday.
The Blue Devils drop to 1-1 on the season, while South Carolina improves to 2-0.
“Congratulations to South Carolina first,” commented Duke head coach Robbie Church. “I thought they deserved to win the game tonight, like I thought we deserved to win the game on Friday night down at Texas A&M. They outworked us, they played hard and they wanted to win.”
Duke came out to start the match on the attack with early shots by senior Laura Weinberg and junior Kelly Cobb, but both went wide. South Carolina added two shots over the next four minutes, before the Blue Devils fired three more attempts that were saved.
The Blue Devils had one of their best chances of the half in the 33rd minute as senior Mollie Pathman placed a perfect cross into the box where redshirt senior Kim DeCesare headed in her first shot of the match. The shot was saved by Gamecock goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo.
South Carolina immediately came back on the attack and after Blue Devil senior defender Natasha Anasi was taken down at the top of the 18, Daija Griffin sent the ball to Danielle Au on the left side of the box. Au found herself in a one-v-one with Duke goalkeeper Meghan Thomas and Au hit the top right corner of the net to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead at the 33:51 mark.
With less than five minutes left in the half, junior Katy Colas served a perfect corner kick into the box that was batted away by D’Angelo. The ball rested at the foot of Blue Devil freshman Lizzy Raben, who fired a shot that went high over the crossbar.
Duke held an 8-3 advantage in shots over the first 45 minutes with Cobb leading the way with two. Seven different Blue Devils attempted a shot.
“We started off playing well and we had our first couple of opportunities and really got nothing out of a couple of nice combination play,” said Church. “We seemed to fall a little flat at that point. It was a tough trip, no question about it. That could be my fault with the scheduling.”
The Blue Devils couldn’t get any excellent scoring chances in the second half as it seemed fatigue from a long road trip started to settle in.
Duke finished the match with a 12-5 shot advantage as Weinberg, Cobb and freshman Rebecca Quinn each led the Blue Devils with two.
“In the second half, I wasn’t disappointed with our effort, but I was disappointed with our decision making,” said Church. “We cannot be outworked. We have to go back and be able to put games together.” Making her first collegiate start, Thomas took the loss in goal for the Blue Devils as she played the first 45 minutes and finished with one save. Redshirt sophomore Ali Kershner came in at the half and added one save. D’Angelo chipped in four saves for South Carolina.
Up next for the Blue Devils will be the UNC Nike Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C. Duke will take on Kennesaw State on Friday, Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m., and then will face New Mexico on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 12:00 p.m.
• Natasha Anasi started her team-best 53rd straight contest. • Dating back to the 2011 campaign, 10 out of the last 11 losses have been by one goal.