MIAMI, Fla. – Playing near her hometown of Boca Raton, Fla., Duke University junior Laura Weinberg connected on a golden goal in the first overtime to lift the second-ranked Blue Devils past Miami, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon in Miami, Fla.
With the victory, Duke moves to 7-2-0 overall and 1-1-0 in the ACC, while Miami falls to 4-4-1, 0-2-0 in the league.
“We were just very happy to win,” commented Duke head coach Robbie Church. “We’ve been going through a vicious stretch here. This is our 11th game of the season and eight of them have been on the road. We’ve been on the road since Wednesday and this is our second five-day road trip in two weeks. Being on the road for so long is just vicious. It wasn’t the prettiest game we played all year by any means, but it’s probably the best win we’ve had all year.”
The Blue Devils took an early 1-0 lead in the 12th minute of the match as junior Gilda Doria fed freshman Cassie Pecht, who blasted a strike from outside the 18-yard box into the far right corner of the net past Hurricane goalkeeper Emily Lillard. Pecht, who is a rookie from Mechanicsburg, Pa., now owns four goals on the season.
Miami nearly evened the match less than three minutes later as Tina Ramgnuolo found herself wide open in front of the Duke goal with just Blue Devil keeper Tara Campbell to get past, but Ramgnuolo’s shot went high over the crossbar.
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 7-2 shot advantage and a 1-0 lead.
The score would remain in the Blue Devils’ favor until the 79:12 mark when Ali Brennan and Kim Hutchinson found Ava Ambrose off a corner kick for her first goal of the season. With the match all square, Duke senior Maddy Haller found redshirt junior Kim DeCesare off a set piece and headed in her seventh goal of the year with less than two minutes remaining in the contest. DeCesare, a product of Massapequa Park, N.Y., had scored six goals over her first five matches before being injured against San Diego on Sept. 7. She came off the bench on Sunday to play 53 minutes.
Miami would not quit and were awarded back-to-back corner kicks with less than a minute left. On the second corner, Ambrose came away with the ball after it was kicked around and hit the back of the net to send the match into overtime tied 2-2.
Six minutes and 10 seconds into overtime, sophomore Katie Trees fired a shot off the post and then Weinberg was able to grab the ball in traffic and finish off the match with her team-best eighth goal of the season. The game-winning goal was her third of the year and has scored goals in four out of the last five contests.
Weinberg now owns 26 career goals to move into a tie for seventh on Duke’s all-time goals list. Her 62 career points is 10th on the Blue Devil charts. The 5-9 forward has already matched her season goals from a year ago with eight.
For the match, Duke outshot Miami, 15-7.
“We had a lot of emotions and frustrations at the end of the game,” said Church. “We had to block those out and push them out of the way. To get our composure and come back and score the game-winning goal in overtime when they had all the momentum was a great testament to the character of this team."
Campbell, a senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, collected one save over the 96:08 minutes in goal for the Blue Devils. Lillard added eight saves for Miami.
"We possessed the ball well,” said Church. “We really passed and moved and ran at their back line. We created a number of scoring opportunities. And credit Miami; they hung in there and hung in there and got two goals late. It was disappointing giving up those two goals, but I thought overall we played pretty well."
Duke concludes its trip to Florida and will head home for two straight matches at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils will host Maryland on Sept. 20 at 7:00 p.m.
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