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Duke, UNC-G kick off season tonight

After more than two weeks of preseason training, the women’s soccer team is itching to begin their season.

The No. 12 Blue Devils kick off their 2005 campaign with a match against UNC-Greensboro tonight at 7 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium.

“We’re really excited to get started on Friday,” Duke head coach Robbie Church said. “We’re ready to play somebody else. We’re ready to get out there and compete, and I think we’ve gotten a lot of respect around the country and we want to show the country that it’s justified.”

The Blue Devils, who earned their highest preseason ranking of Church’s five-year tenure, split their two exhibition games last week—beating UNC-Wilmington, 5-3, Aug. 18 and then being shutout by South Carolina, 2-0, Aug. 20.

The team has been implementing a new formation throughout their preseason workouts. Duke played a 4-4-2 setup for all of last season, but is switching to a 4-3-3 this season.

Senior captain Carolyn Ford said although the transition is going smoothly, it takes time to adjust.

“It takes a couple games to understand everything and figure out where exactly people are supposed to go on transition or where we’re going to get our goals from,” Ford said. “It takes a little while to do that but I think we’re doing well.”

Duke’s progress has been slowed slightly by injuries that have hit the team.

Sophomore Lorraine Quinn, who started all 23 matches as a freshman, will sit out the entire season with an injury to her left foot. She had surgery Aug. 11 to repair the injury she suffered during the summer.

Senior captain Kate Seibert sprained her left ankle in the second half of Saturday’s game against the Gamecocks and is not expected to play tonight. Meanwhile, senior Carolyn Riggs continues to work herself back into playing shape after missing a week of preseason training with a kidney infection. She completed her first full practice Wednesday and is expected to play limited minutes against UNC-G.

The game will be the first regular season contest for both schools. Duke finished last year’s campaign with a 15-8 record, while the Spartans ended their season with a 14-5-1 mark.

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