Blue Devils Fall on the Road at Arkansas, 2-1, in Women’s Soccer Action
August 26, 2016
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After dominating play in the opening weekend of action, the second-ranked Duke women’s soccer team found itself in a tough battle in front of a record crowd of 3,010 fans at Arkansas Friday evening. The Razorbacks were able to notch their first victory in school history over a top 10 ranked opponent with a 2-1 victory over the Blue Devils at Razorback Field in Fayetteville, Ark.
"It’s a very disappointing loss,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “It’s college soccer, you have to have short memories, and we’ve got to turn around right now and get ready for Coastal Carolina Sunday night, because we can’t get down and compound this loss."
Duke sophomore Kayla McCoy attempted the first shot of the match in the ninth minute as junior Imani Dorsey sent a great feed into the box where McCoy headed a shot wide left.
Freshman Mia Gyau then found herself driving into the right side of the box and had a shot at goal, but Arkansas’ Cameron Carter made a diving stop to keep the score even, 0-0.
After dominating the first 20 minutes of play, Arkansas was able to get on the board first as the Blue Devils failed to clear a ball in the box off a throw in. Lindsey Mayo was able to settle it and hit the left corner of the net past a diving EJ Proctor from seven yards at the 20:31 mark.
"Unfortunately, I think we lost focus,” commented Church. “The girl on the back post was open and we didn’t do a good job of closing her, and it wound up in the back of our net. For a team like this, they need that energy goal, and they got that energy goal, that belief goal with it too."
With the 1-0 lead by the Razorbacks, the Blue Devils faced their first deficit of the season.
In the sixth minute, the Blue Devils’ Chelsea Burns crossed a perfect pass through the box but junior Morgan Reid couldn’t get her foot on the ball, which was one of Duke’s best chances of the night.
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 6-2 shot advantage, but trailed 1-0 on the scoreboard.
Arkansas kept taking it to the Blue Devils in the second half as Stefani Doyle beat a Duke defender and launched a blast into the upper 90 and Proctor had no chance to make a save.
"We made a couple of mistakes, and they capitalized, specifically in the back of the net,” said Church. “I don’t think we were as sharp as we are capable of being, I don’t think we made as good decisions as we were capable of doing."
With the Razorbacks leading 2-0, the Blue Devils keep pressing forward. After moving senior Christina Gibbons up front to create more offensive chances, the Blue Devils finally broke through at the 75:50 mark as freshman Olivia Erlbeck one-timed a volley into the upper portion of the net off Carter’s hand.
A native of San Diego, Calif., Erlbeck registered her first collegiate goal to cut the Razorback lead to 2-1.
Arkansas came back three minutes later and hit the crossbar off a Rachel Riggs shot, but the attempt glanced went out of bounds.
Blue Devils added shots by Gyau and another by Erlbeck but hey were saved and went wide, respectively.
Two great chances for Arkansas late, but Proctor made a great save and the other shot went just over the crossbar in the 85th minute.
Duke was fouled outside the box late and sent the ball into the box, but couldn’t get anything past the Razorback defense, before the time went to zero.
At the end of the 90 minutes, Duke outshot Arkansas 12-7. Freshman Ella Stevens led the Blue Devils with three shots, while Dorsey, Gyau and Erlbeck added two each.
"If you look at the stats, we didn’t make the goalkeeper work enough,” said Church. “We only had three shots on goal. We didn’t put enough balls on target and we didn’t make the goalkeeper work enough."
Proctor, who hails from Wilson, N.C., finished the night with two saves over 90 minutes of play.
Duke will return to action Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m., as the Blue Devils host Coastal Carolina at Koskinen Stadium. It will mark the home opener for Duke. The Blue Devils are expected to have senior Rebecca Quinn back on the pitch for the first time this season, after she helped lead Canada to the bronze medal at the Olympics in Rio.