DURHAM, N.C. - On a night when seven Blue Devil seniors were honored prior to the match for senior night, the sixth-ranked Duke women's soccer team was held scoreless for only the third time this season as seventh-ranked North Carolina took a 2-0 victory at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
The loss for the Blue Devils snapped a 22-match streak at home without a loss and dropped Duke to 11-4-2 overall and 5-3-2 in the ACC. North Carolina improved to 9-3-2 overall and 5-2-1 in league play. The Blue Devils now own a double-bye in the ACC scheduling and will have to wait until Thursday, Oct. 25 to find out where they will be seeded in the ACC Tournament, which opens at host sites on Sunday, Oct. 28. Other league schools have one or two matches remaining on their schedule.
"I will take the blame on this myself," commented Duke head coach Robbie Church. "I did not inspire my team. I thought Carolina was much more inspired today. They played harder and I thought the best team won today's game. I did not motivate our whole group. I thought a lot of our kids played hard and our seniors played extremely hard too."
Duke came out of the gates on the attack and took the opening shot of the match off the head of senior Callie Simpkins, which was saved by Tar Heel goalkeeper Adelaide Gay.
North Carolina took the next shot at the 9:53 mark and was able to take a 1-0 lead as Maria Lubrano found a streaking Meg Morris, who blasted it into the lower left of the net for her first goal of the season.
The Tar Heels went on to control the rest of the first half and held a 9-1 advantage in shots at the end of the first 45 minutes. The one shot for the Blue Devils was a season low for the first stanza.
Duke junior Laura Weinberg opened the second half with a shot, but the Tar Heels were able to come right back in the 53rd minute to go ahead 2-0. Summer Green played a ball from the end line across the front of the Blue Devil goal and Kealia Ohai placed in her fourth goal of the season for North Carolina.
In the 67th and 68th minute, the Blue Devils had their best scoring chances of the match as junior Kaitlyn Kerr found herself in front of the goal but had a shot blocked. Junior Gilda Doria sent in a corner kick that was kicked high in front of the goal line where sophomore Kelly Cobb headed the ball towards the goal, but it was again blocked.
"We never want to feel like this again," said redshirt junior Kim DeCesare. "So with that in mind, we are going to come into every game that much harder. Every loss adds a little bit to the edge that we have on us. We played tough today, we played hard, but there are still things that we need to do better in order to come out and win the ACC Tournament, because that is our goal now."
The Blue Devils managed a season-low seven shots, including three on goal. The seven shots was a season-low as the previous low was against Marquette and Southern California earlier in the season. Senior Nicole Lipp attempted a team-high two shots on the night.
"On the attack, I thought we slowed it down instead of going at them when we had a chance," commented Church. "It is a disappointing performance. I am disappointed in myself that I did not prepare them to play at the level we are capable of playing." Campbell, who is a product of Cincinnati, Ohio, finished the night with a season-high seven saves in 90 minutes of play. Gay added three saves as she notched a shutout over 90 minutes.
"The bottom line is that when we play a team like this we need to be motivated, we have got to be able to play through it and we have got to play better," said Church. "I thought we played as a collection of individuals instead of a team out there." Duke will next host Francis Marion on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 2:00 p.m., to close out the regular season.
Duke dropped to 0-13 all-time against North Carolina at home.
The Blue Devils close the regular season in third place in the ACC standings with 17 points, but will have to wait to find out their fate for the ACC Tournament as other schools have one or two matches remaining.
Duke has been shutout in three league contests this season (Florida State, Virginia and North Carolina).
The Blue Devils were outshot for the first time this season, 18-7.
For only the second time this season, Laura Weinberg has been held scoreless for two straight matches. She owns 15 goals on the year.
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