DURHAM, N.C.—Eighth-ranked Louisville scored a goal in the 41st minute and held off a furious second-half charge from Duke to hand the 19th-ranked Blue Devils a 1-0 loss in a top 20 ACC matchup at Koskinen Stadium Saturday night.
The 1-0 setback is the first at home for the Blue Devils as they fall to 7-2-1 overall and 2-2-0 in league action. Louisville improves to 7-1-2 and 3-1-0 in the ACC.
“We played well,” said head coach John Kerr. “I’m very proud of them. The only thing we didn’t do was finish our chances. We really didn’t give them many looks at goal. I’m very proud of my guys and I know we’re going to bounce back on Tuesday. I’m excited about our team and I know there’s a long way to go.”
Duke outshot Louisville 16-6 for the game and forced goalkeeper Will Meyer into four saves and the Cardinals into five saves overall. Louisville came into the game allowing its opponents just 5.78 shots per game on average.
The Blue Devils had some success early in the game with senior Cameron Moseley being able to get in behind the defense. He got loose in the 14th minute and fired a shot past Meyer, but a Cardinal defender was there to clear the ball off the line.
On the left side, senior Kevon Black continued to give the Cardinals fits as he was able to find just enough space to serve the ball across the box. He nearly found the foot of Daniel Wright, but the rookie couldn’t quite make it to the ball to keep the score knotted at zero.
Despite having just three shots in the opening half, Louisville made one count in the 41st minute as leading scorer Tate Schmitt timed his penetrating run perfectly with a well-weighted pass from Tim Kubel out of the midfield. Schmitt ran onto the ball and easily put it inside the near post for the 1-0 lead.
Trailing after the opening half for just the second time this season, Duke was determined the get the equalizer in the second period. The Blue Devils attacked from the opening whistle and created countless opportunities, but couldn’t quite convert.
In the first 90 seconds, Black found himself in scoring position, but couldn’t beat Meyer from a tough angle on the left side. Brian White again made Meyer comes up with a stop four minutes later.
That trend continued for the Blue Devils over the next 40 minutes. Max Moser started creating havoc for the Blue Devils on the right side, serving balls into the box and far post that were just a touch too far for Duke to run onto and finish.
Black had another outstanding look at goal midway through the 45 minutes, but passed the ball off to Moseley in hopes he could run onto it and finish.
Louisville did well to weather the storm, closing down on the ball quickly when it needed to. Overall, Duke outshot the Cardinals 10-3 in the second half and four of those came on goal.
None was closer for Duke than White’s chance in the waning seconds. As the ball bounced around in the box, it fell to the feet of White who with pressure from Louisville defenders and Meyer sent the ball over the crossbar to seal the victory for the Cardinals.
Will Pulisic made three saves in the game, including a diving stop in the second half to keep the game at 1-0.
Duke has a busy upcoming week with three games in six days. The Blue Devils close out the three-game homestand with Elon Oct. 3 at 7 p.m., on ACC Network Extra. Duke heads to ACC foe Pittsburgh and No. 14 Georgetown Oct. 6 and 9, respectively.