No. 21 Duke Shuts Out No. 25 William & Mary, 2-0, in Home Opener
August 30, 2015
DURHAM, N.C.— For the first time since 1997, the Duke women’s soccer team posted four straight shutouts to open the season as the 21st-ranked Blue Devils downed 25th-ranked William & Mary, 2-0, Sunday evening in the 2015 home opener at Koskinen Stadium.
The Blue Devils improved to 3-0-1 on the early season as Duke prepares to host the very challenging Duke Nike Classic next weekend.
Duke opened the first 45 minutes of action controlling possession as the Blue Devils held the Tribe to zero shots.
The first good opportunity to score came at the 16:10 mark for the Blue Devils as sophomore Ashton Miller beat a Tribe defender along the end line and sent a great pass to junior Toni Payne. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Payne one-timed a shot that went high over the crossbar.
At the end of the first half, Duke held a 10-0 shot advantage.
In the 52nd minute, the Blue Devils were awarded a penalty kick after William & Mary had a handball on a shot by redshirt sophomore Cassie Pecht. Junior Christina Gibbons stepped up to take the penalty kick, but her shot went off the crossbar and came back towards the field. A trio of Blue Devils went after the ball as freshman Taylor Racioppi got to it first and made a sliding finish into the back of net.
Racioppi, a product of Ocean Township, N.J., totaled her fourth goal in as many matches.
Just about six minutes later, Racioppi ripped a right-footed shot off the crossbar from about 15 yards. Payne was there for the rebound and headed in her first goal of the season to put the Blue Devils ahead, 2-0.
“The timing of those goals [were crucial] before panic set in,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “A lot of people don’t know how hard it is to break down a 10-player bunker. It is not easy and is tough. That is a very organized bunker that they had and they did a great job. If you look at the world soccer scene and you see a lot of teams sitting in with a bunker like that. I didn’t think we were bad in the first half trying to break it down, but I didn’t think we were quick enough. You have to move it side to side and we tried to force some straight balls into players.”
Sophomore goalkeeper EJ Proctor registered her second straight shutout in goal for the Blue Devils as she was awarded three saves over 90 minutes of action. Caroline Casey notched seven saves in goal for William & Mary.
As a team, Duke outshot William & Mary, 27-4, for the match as 13 different Blue Devils attempted shots.
“The goals came at such a critical time because another 10-15 minutes panic would have set in a little bit – coaches, players on the side, players on the field,” said Church. “We got the goal and then did a really nice job following with another one. It was good to get some players in and they need some quality experience and they got that.”
Blue Devil freshman Kayla McCoy made her first collegiate start, after sophomore Imani Dorsey was injured during warmups and did not play.
Duke now owns 11 goals in four matches coming off a season where the Blue Devils totaled 22 goals all year long. Seven of the 11 goals have come from freshmen – Racioppi (4) and McCoy (3). The last time Duke has opened the season with four straight shutouts was in 1997 when the Blue Devils kicked off the year with five in a row.
Duke will host the Duke Nike Classic Sept. 4 and 6, which includes four ranked teams – Southern California, California and North Carolina. North Carolina and California will kick things off Friday, Sept. 4 at 5:00 p.m., followed by Southern California and Duke at 7:30 p.m.