Duke’s 4-0 lead suddenly looked to be in jeopardy after two quick Marquette goals in the span of three minutes cut the Golden Eagle deficit in half, but Gilda Doria strode into the box and volleyed a cross home three minutes later to quell any hope of a Marquette comeback.
In the No. 4 Blue Devils’ (6-1-0) second game of the Duke Nike Classic, they defeated the No. 8 Golden Eagles 5-2 behind two goals from Laura Weinberg. On Friday Duke beat San Diego 4-1 with Weinberg and Doria again amongst the scorers. Doria had two goals against the Toreros.
“We’re playing really well offensively,” Duke head coach Robbie Church said. “We’re sharing the ball well. We’re passing and moving. We’re running at players, and we’re being very efficient around the goals. It’s a great little streak we’re in from an offensive standpoint.”
These two wins were played without injured duo Nicole Lipp and Kim DeCesare, who was injured in the sixth minute of the game against San Diego (3-5-0). The team remained without forwards Mollie Pathman and Kelly Cobb, who won the gold medal at the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan.
“Obviously [Kim]’s been really huge for us this season being our leading scorer,” Weinberg said. “So we had that offensive mentality that we had to compensate for her being out. We really took it upon ourselves…to get our shots off and finish our chances.”
Early in the game it seemed that Duke was struggling to break down Marquette’s (3-2-1) defense and Church yelled instructions to his players on the sidelines.
“We felt like we could press them from the back and that they would turn the ball over at key parts of the field,” Church said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of pressuring them and not letting them get into a rhythm of play, but they sort of did in the middle part of the second half.”
After 17 minutes, that pressure paid off as defender Libby Jandl won a contested header near the center of the field. She strode after the ball and up the right flank, before lofting in a cross into the box for Weinberg to head into the opposite corner of the goal.
At that point the Blue Devils started to assert their dominance and had the Golden Eagles entrenched in their own half. With eight minutes remaining in the period Weinberg doubled the lead. The defense again ignited the offense with outside back Erin Koballa playing a pass for Weinberg on the flank, who cut onto her left foot before curling an exquisite effort into the top corner beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.
“I was talking to Kim about it at halftime, actually, and she said ‘You have 45 minutes to get a hat trick,’” Weinberg said. “But it was a great team effort. I’m really glad we got those other three goals in the second half.”
Although the shot count was 10-1 in favor of Duke in the first half, and they walked into the locker room with a 2-0 lead, the Blue Devils were nearly down a goal in the early going when Marquette’s lone shot bounced off the post with the game still scoreless.
In a hectic 10-minute period in the second half a total of five goals were scored. After 69 minutes, Duke’s Katie Trees was bundled over in the box and the referee whistled for a penalty. The sophomore striker stepped up to convert the penalty.
Immediately after the ensuing kickoff Trees played a through ball for freshman Cassie Pecht to latch onto and chip over the keeper, creating what seemed like an insurmountable 4-0 lead. At this point many of the starters such as Weinberg, Natasha Anasi and Pecht were taken off.
But three minutes later, Marquette’s Kate Reigle took advantage of failed clearances to pass the ball into the far corner of the net. Three minutes after that Marquette capitalized on another defensive error and Taylor Madigan was able to cut the lead further with 14 minutes remaining.
Anasi, Weinberg and Pecht were reintroduced to stem the momentum and with more than 10 minutes remaining, Weinberg recorded an assist to go with her two goals. Her pass found Kara Wilson who crossed the ball to the center of the box for an on-rushing Doria to volley into the bottom corner, cementing a Blue Devil victory.
“I’ve just been trying to take shots and put them on target,” Doria said. They’ve been going in and that’s very unusual for me, but all my coaches have said I could do it all along so I’m glad they’re going in.... I think I’m getting a lot more confidence now. My coaches have been very supportive and so has my team. But at the end of the day it’s about the team not my individual play.”