DURHAM, N.C. — The seventh-ranked Duke women’s soccer team scored two goals over the final 35 minutes Saturday to take down 16th-ranked Boston College, 3-2, in a come-from-behind victory in the ACC opener for both teams at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
The match was very eventful with two penalty kick goals over the first 25 minutes, including a red card.
After each team had early shots, Duke featured the best scoring chance in the 11th minute. Sophomore Kayla McCoy beat a defender and had a one-v-one opportunity with Boston College keeper Alexis Bryant. As McCoy drove towards the goal, Bryant came out to try to stop the Blue Devil forward, but fouled McCoy. The referee presented Bryant with a red card and Duke was awarded with a penalty kick.
Boston College subbed in backup goalkeeper Erin Seppi and Gaby Carreiro came out as the Eagles would have to play the rest of the match with only 10 players.
McCoy, a product of Lincolnwood, Ill., stepped up and finished her third goal of the season to put the Blue Devils ahead, 1-0, at the 10:38 mark.
Less than 14 minutes later, a Duke defender fouled Eagles forward Lauren Berman in the box and Boston College was given a penalty kick. Leading scorer McKenzie Meehan punched in her eighth goal of the season to even the ledger, 1-1, in the 24th minute.
Both teams had dangerous opportunities as the first half rounded out, but neither could capitalize. At the end of the first 45 minutes, each squad had attempted six shots.
Boston College wasted no time in the second half taking its first lead of the match as Hayley Dowd intercepted a pass from the Duke midfield and beat the Blue Devil defense heading towards the goal. Dowd rocketed in a shot that hit the right corner past a diving EJ Proctor. Boston College took a 2-1 lead at the 48:05 mark.
Duke didn’t back down and started to get more on the offensive attack as Imani Dorsey and Taylor Racioppi each attempted shots that were blocked and went high, respectively.
The Blue Devils used some excellent passing in the 56th minute to even the score. Dorsey drove into the center of the box and sent a pass off to the left to freshman Ella Stevens. Stevens sent a perfect cross to a waiting Racioppi, who used her left foot to finish her third goal of the year and even the score, 2-2.
Still playing a man up, Duke continued to put the pressure on the Eagle defense. In another excellent scoring chance, McCoy drove into the right side of the box past a Boston College defender and was left with only Seppi to get through. After Seppi made a diving deflection, she seemed to knock McCoy down and an Eagle defender saved the ball of the line in the 69th minute.
McCoy would not be denied again though.
Senior Rebecca Quinn went towards the top of the box and slipped a pass to Racioppi. A product of Ocean Township, N.J., Racioppi went down on one knee and tapped the ball to a streaking McCoy, who finished her fourth goal of the season to give Duke a 3-2 advantage with under 13 minutes remaining.
“It felt really good,” commented McCoy on scoring two goals. “I’ve had a bit of trouble scoring this season so it felt really good to get two goals in one game and help my team win.”
Just after McCoy scored, she went down with an injury and did not return to the match.
“I was very proud,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “We were down 2-1 scrambling a little bit and they got a lot of numbers behind the ball. So we moved the ball well, had a little bit more patience, played with a little more energy in the second half and we got the three points.”
Boston College was unable to get a shot off the rest of the way and Duke opened league play with a 3-2 victory.
For the match, Duke held a 17-8 shot advantage with McCoy leading the way with a season-high five attempts. The multi-goal match for McCoy was the second of her career and the first of the season.
“Much respect to BC because they were playing a man down and it didn’t feel like it for us,” said McCoy. “But it is a huge win as it is hard to get three points in the ACC. We put the work in and got it done. It was really important.”
Proctor, a junior goalkeeper from Wilson, N.C., collected three saves over 90 minutes of play.
Duke will close a seven-match homestand Thursday, Sept. 22 versus Louisville at 7 p.m.
Notes: • After missing two straight games, Rebecca Quinn returned to the lineup and played the entire 90 minutes. • With her goal and assist on the night, Taylor Racioppi leads Duke with 11 points and her five assists is also a team best.