The Blue Devils showed great solidarity in fighting their way to a draw.
Duke (7-2-1, 1-1-1 in ACC) battled its way to a 2-2 draw against No. 17 Maryland (6-2-2, 2-0-1 in ACC) in an ACC matchup at Koskinen Stadium Thursday evening. It was a game of two halves characterized by No. 4 Duke’s comeback twice from a goal behind.
“We showed great character,” head coach Robbie Church said. “One point is cruel when you see our team’s 22 shots at goal compared to the opponent’s eight. We need to finish better, we had momentum after our first equalizer but couldn’t find that second goal.”
Sophomore Kelly Cobb, who played in the U-20 World Cup in Japan earlier this year, returned to the lineup after suffering a knee injury.
In a game between two strong teams Maryland started the game brightly and they took the lead with a strike from Hayley Brock early on in the 10th minute. A long through ball from the center back Domenica Hodak slipped by the Duke defense and Brock broke away to latch onto the pass and score past senior goalkeeper Tara Campbell.
Despite hints of offside in the goal, the referee waved play on much to the chagrin of the Duke home crowd.
The Blue Devils came close to equalizing a couple of times in the first half but were unable to find the ball. As a consequence, the teams entered half time with Maryland holding a 1-0 advantage.
The second half started with neither team able to keep possession. The first real chance of the game fell to redshirt junior Kim Decesare in the 50th minute, but she scuffed her shot off a cross by junior Mollie Pathman.
But Duke was not to be denied, and the team’s positive play was rewarded when freshman Cassie Pecht played a ball into the path of junior Laura Weinberg, who took two touches before rifling a shot into the bottom right corner. Weinberg scored her ninth goal of the season, recording a team best.
Her goal sparked the Blue Devils into action and they dominated the next 15 minutes.
“I was able to find that far post.... It was a shot that I have been practicing for a while now in training,” Weinberg said.
But against the run of play, Maryland took the lead 2-1.
Duke then made a string of poor passes and needlessly gave away possession as they searched for a way back into the game.
And with three minutes to go, Duke’s time did come when forward Kim DeCesare smashed home the equalizer into an empty net after the Maryland keeper came out and failed to collect a high cross.
Regulation time ended with the game in a stalemate. In overtime, both teams came close to grabbing the winner but left at a draw.
“The team is close but not there yet,” Weinberg said. “We need to fix some things and cut out our mistakes.”
Pecht, who gave a solid performance in midfield, added that the team is coming together well and is really close as they enter a critical part of their season.
But as Church noted, four points out of a possible nine is not an enviable position and the hard work starts Sunday when the team returns to practice in preparation for two games next week.