DURHAM, N.C. – The fourth-ranked Duke women’s soccer team closed nonconference action on Thursday evening with a 3-0 blanking of College of Charleston at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils registered three goals over the first 35 minutes of action on their way to notching their sixth shutout of the season.
The Blue Devils improved to 7-1 on the year and will next host sixth-ranked Florida State on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1:00 p.m., to open Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) action. College of Charleston dropped to 4-4.
“It was a solid performance,” said Duke Head Coach Robbie Church. “I was really happy with how we played the first half. I thought we were much better when we played collectively. I thought we played collectively in the first half -- moved the ball well, moved off the ball well and played fairly quick. I wasn’t as happy in the second half, especially with the first group that played. I thought we didn’t have the same movement and we played a little too much individually. It is hard, it is a hard game, especially right here in front of the ACC season getting ready to start on Sunday.”
Freshman Kelly Cobb registered her sixth goal of the year to open the scoring in just the fourth minute. Sophomore defender Natasha Anasi sent a great feed down to Cobb that went off the head of a Cougar defender and to the feet of Cobb. A 5-9 native of Chugiak, Alaska, Cobb drove in and passed the ball into the middle of the box to sophomore Mollie Pathman, who then returned the pass and Cobb who hit top shelf for the tally.
“Kelly has that knack to score right when she gets in,” said redshirt sophomore Kim DeCesare. “She brings everyone up when she gets after it so quickly. It just pumps everyone up and makes everyone else want to score goals.”
Pathman’s assist gives her five on the season, which leads the Blue Devils. Cobb now owns six goals over the last seven games since joining the starting lineup.
Duke added a second goal in the 10th minute as sophomore Gilda Doria fired a right-footed corner kick to the head of Anasi, who powered in her first goal of the season. Anasi, who moved to the center back position once Ashley Rape went down with an injury on Aug. 28, now owns two career goals for Duke. Doria added her first assist on the season, after leading Duke last year with six.
The Blue Devils registered another goal in the 35th minute off a corner kick as freshman Audrey Gibson sent a great left-footed feed into the box. A product of Massapequa Park, N.Y., DeCesare was able to punch in the ball after it settled to her feet in front of the goal. It marked the first goal of the season and second of her career for DeCesare.
Duke went on to sub 10 different student-athletes in the first half with Anasi, junior Libby Jandl and junior goalkeeper Tara Campbell the only starters to not come off the field. At the end of the first stanza, Duke held a 21-0 shot advantage.
“It was great,” said Church said about his bench. “I thought they came in and played collectively. They moved the ball well -- stayed within the game plan that we wanted to do. They attacked the spaces the spaces we wanted to do. Some of those players got better and got more confidence. Hopefully down the road when we get them some time in ACC play, they can step up and this game can come back to really help them.”
With a 3-0 lead early in the second, Church pulled the starting forwards -- Cobb, Pathman and sophomore Laura Weinberg -- and went on to bring 12 total Blue Devils in the second half. Duke added 11 shots in the second stanza, while College of Charleston attempted two shots.
“We are 8-1, it is another win and another shutout so you have to be extremely happy with that,” commented Church.”
In goal for the Blue Devils, Campbell played the first half and redshirt freshman Meghan Thomas played the second 45 minutes. Neither goalkeeper had any saves. Taylor Avery started in the net for the Cougars and played 68 minutes, while totaling seven saves. Cricket Wise added three saves over the final 21 minutes off the bench.
With a 32-2 shot advantage, Cobb led Duke with five shots, while DeCesare and junior Chelsea Canepa each attempted four shots. The three goals in the first half for the Blue Devils is a season high.
Once again, Duke will next host sixth-ranked Florida State on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1:00 p.m.
“We are excited for sure -- we play a great team in Florida State and we are a great team so it should be an fantastic match,” said Church. “As many opportunities won’t be there on Sunday as there was today, so we have to be really sharp. When they are there we have to finish them. That is the key thing about the ACC -- you can’t give up soft goals and when the opportunity is there you have to be ready.”
Blue Devil Notes:
• The Blue Devils held a 13-0 advantage in corner kicks.
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