DURHAM, N.C. – Duke women’s soccer head coach Robbie Church announced Thursday that redshirt junior Kim DeCesare will return to Duke for her senior season in the fall of 2013. DeCesare, a sociology and cultural anthropology double major, missed the 2009 season due to a torn right ACL, but is coming off her best collegiate season notching 38 points.
“I got hurt my freshman year, so I knew that I wanted to take a fifth year from the time I got to Duke,” DeCesare said. “In high school, I knew that was probably going to be my option. I considered graduating on time and leaving, but that was only if other complications happened or I wasn’t happy, but my plan from the start was to stay.”
DeCesare, a native of Massapequa Park, N.Y., tallied 16 goals and six assists last season, including four game winners, and served as a tri-captain for the Blue Devils. As a captain of the team, DeCesare helped lead the Blue Devils to a 15-6-2 overall record and 5-3-2 mark in the ACC, while also making a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals, where Duke fell to top-seeded Penn State, 1-0. The 5-11 standout has played in 69 career games, while notching 23 goals, nine assists and 55 points.
DeCesare was recruited by Church as a defender, but after seeing her goal scoring ability in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, including game winning goals over 24th-ranked Long Beach in the quarterfinals and against Wake Forest in the NCAA College Cup semifinals, Church made the decision to try DeCesare up front in the fall of 2012.
That fall, DeCesare made a seamless transition to the forward position and helped the Blue Devils to one of their best offensive seasons in school history, setting school records in points (207) and assists (77), while also posting 65 goals, which is second on the all-time list. Duke concluded the season ranked in the top 10 nationally in the NSCAA rankings for the second straight year, which was a first for the Blue Devils over their 25 years of women’s soccer at Duke.
“I am super lucky to have come in with that class because those six girls are my best friends, and will likely be my best friends for life,” DeCesare said. “I think that we had the opportunity to kind of change the program and start a new culture for our team, that I am super proud to be a part of. It is sad that I am going to play another season without them, but I am looking forward to working with the girls that I have gotten to know so well throughout the past couple of years. So I am happy to be a part of the upcoming senior class as well, so it is the best of both worlds I guess.”
While DeCesare decided to return to Duke, her teammate, Simpkins, who is a redshirt junior, made the difficult decision to move on and accept a position at Goldman Sachs. Simpkins served as an intern at Goldman Sachs in the summer of 2012, and was offered a position upon her graduation in May of 2013.
“I definitely considered coming back, it was a battle the entire season about whether I was going to come back or not,” Simpkins said. “I just felt like it was my time to move on. I feel like I am going to thrive in the next chapter of my life, and I am ready to pass the torch down to the junior class. They have done a really good job with this program, and it is their turn to lead and to be on top.”
Simpkins, a native of Concord, N.C., served as one of three captains last season, playing in 14 games and notching three goals and two assists, including a goal in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a 5-0 rout of Loyola-Maryland. Despite missing her freshman season due to a torn ACL in her right knee, Simpkins tallied 62 appearances while recording nine goals and five assists.
As a team, Duke will return seven starters in 2013, including the personnel who scored 62-of-65 goals for the Blue Devils in 2012.
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