DURHAM, N.C. – After not allowing a goal over the first five matches, the 16th-ranked Blue Devil women’s soccer team dropped a 3-1 decision to 25th-ranked California Sunday afternoon to close action in the Duke Nike Classic at Koskinen Stadium.
With the victory, California (3-1-1) won the Duke Nike Classic with a 1-0-1 record and four goals scored over the weekend. The Blue Devils dropped to 4-1-1 on the season.
Arielle Ship of California was selected the Offensive MVP for the tournament, while Paige Nielson of North Carolina earned Defensive MVP accolades. Other members of the All-Tournament team included Jessie Scarpa (North Carolina), Sandra Ley (California), Christina Gibbons (Duke), Kayla Mills (Southern California), Joanna Boyles (North Carolina), Lorin Hom (California), Morgan Andrews (Southern California) and Ashton Miller (Duke).
After not allowing a goal all season, California jumped on the Blue Devils early in the first half as the Bears posted two goals in the first 14 minutes of play.
Ifeoma Onumonu scored the first California tally off a give-and-go from Ship at the 11:45 mark. Then, Ship connected on her team-best fifth goal of the year at the 13:29 mark off an assist from Onumonu to go ahead 2-0.
California continued to put pressure on Duke until late in the first half. After Church moved junior defender Christina Gibbons up front, Gibbons sent a corner kick into the box where California keeper Emily Boyd let the ball go through her hands and landed at the goal line. A trio of Blue Devils were charging at the ball before redshirt junior Danielle Duhl tapped in her first career goal as she fell into the back of the net.
At the end of the first half, Duke and California were all even with seven shots each. Blue Devil goalkeeper EJ Proctor had four saves at the break.
Duke opened the second half on the attack and nearly evened the match on a couple different chances. Gibbons, who hails from Raleigh, N.C., sent a cross from the left side of the box that grazed the crossbar in the 48th minute. Duke rookie Taylor Racioppi then got Boyd out from in front of the goal and found herself with an empty net from the right side of the box. Racioppi, a product of Ocean Township, N.J., had a very tough angle to try to get the ball into the net and couldn’t squeeze it inside the post.
The Blue Devils had four other shots over a span of less than three minutes but couldn’t get anything past the Bear defense.
California then netted the crucial third goal at the 59:13 mark as Kelly Fitzgerald sent a corner kick to Celeste Boureille, who hit the right post. The ball bounced off the post and after Proctor had dove to try to make the stop, it hit off her head and back into the goal.
Duke was held to only two shots over the final 28 minutes of the match, but closed with a 16-12 shot advantage for the afternoon. Racioppi led the way with seven for the Blue Devils, while Cassie Pecht, Kayla McCoy and Gibbons each added two attempts.
Proctor finished the day with six saves over 90 minutes, while Boyd added three saves for the Bears.
In the first match of the day, third-ranked North Carolina collected a 2-1 victory over 15th-ranked Southern California.
Duke will next hit the road for two straight matches at Samford Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:00 p.m., followed by a match at LSU at 11:00 a.m., on Sunday, Sept. 13.
Duke Nike Classic All-Tournament Team
Jessie Scarpa, North Carolina
Sandra Ley, California
Christina Gibbons, Duke
Kayla Mills, Southern California
Joanna Boyles, North Carolina
Lorin Hom, California
Morgan Andrews, Southern California
Ashton Miller, Duke
Offensive MVP: Arielle Ship, California
Defensive MVP: Paige Nielson, North Carolina