The Blue Devils just keep winning, as they pushed their program-best winning streak to 10 games after a dominant victory Sunday. 

No. 4 Duke showed no signs of fatigue in its third game of the week, a 2-0 victory against Pittsburgh at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils were in control from start to finish at their first annual Pride Game, taking 25 shots with the help of 10 corner kicks. The team had trouble finishing all day, in part due to an excellent performance from Pittsburgh goalie Katelyn McEachern, but senior Ashton Miller opened the scoring in the 39th minute with her second goal of the season, and junior Kayla McCoy put the game out of reach 30 minutes later. 

“The missed opportunities were definitely frustrating,” McCoy said. “We wanted to get more in there, but coming off a competitive game on Thursday, we were just happy to get the win here. We didn’t play our best and we didn’t finish our chances, but we’ll take it.”

Duke’s offensive struggles can be summed up by one sequence in the middle of the first half when the Blue Devils (10-1-0, 3-0-0 in the ACC) attempted three shots within a minute, each thwarted by McEachern. The redshirt freshman goalie finished the game with nine saves and was crucial in keeping it close for the Panthers (3-5-3, 0-2-1). 

But Duke finally broke through near the end of the first half when, after senior Imani Dorsey’s blocked cross, Miller fired in her second goal of the season.

“We are going to do what we have to do to win,” Blue Devil head coach Robbie Church said. “We weren’t as sharp in the boxes as we would have liked, but I thought we gutted it out.”

Despite scoring just one more goal, Duke’s offense was much improved in the second half. It attacked with more authority, passed with more precision and was rewarded with a goal from McCoy with 24 minutes left in the match. Off of a free kick from sophomore Ella Stevens, Miller fired in a shot that ricocheted off a Pittsburgh defender. McCoy then controlled the deflection and placed the rebound right through McEachern’s legs for the score. 

“I’m so impressed by how, game after game, they come out to play. Even though the first half wasn’t the best for us, they made a good change in the second half,” Church said. “This team has been in a lot of big games, and they’ve figured it out.... The team not only wants to win, they want to play up to their abilities, and that’s what we strive to do. We want to keep the standards high and not let the scoreboard blind us.”

Although the offense was inconsistent, the Blue Devil defense was anything but. Duke limited the Panthers to six shots all day, only two of which were on goal. It was the third clean sheet in a row for Duke, and the team has only allowed one goal in the month of September, a span of seven games. 

Senior goalkeeper EJ Proctor had another strong game, though she did not have to turn away many chances in front of her net, and the shutout brings her career goals against average to 0.7, the best in Duke history.

“The defense played well overall, but our transition defense is what’s been so good,” Church said. “We defend with everybody and make sure everybody gets back and behind the ball. So that’s been a big part of it.”

The Blue Devils will not be as busy next week, visiting Louisville Friday night for their only match in the next 10 days.

“The second half really reinforced how tough this team is mentally,” Church said. “I’m very proud of this team for these wins. We just have to get some rest and recovery and work on some things before we get to Louisville.”