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Defense leads Duke to pair of shutouts at Classic

CHAPEL HILL — Allison Lipsher enjoyed a relaxing weekend at the Nike Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill.

The sophomore goalie recorded her second and third shutouts of the season, without needing to make a single save in 180 minutes of play. Duke’s stifling defense helped her cause, allowing only five total shots as the No. 12 Blue Devils (3-0-1) defeated Yale, 1-0, Sept. 2 and Davidson, 2-0, Sept. 4.

“We’re going to win a lot of games if we keep putting up zeros,” head Coach Robbie Church said.

The Blue Devils steady backfield play throughout the weekend enabled the team to operate primarily in its opponents half of the field, creating a number of scoring opportunities.

Freshman Christie McDonald started Duke’s offensive domination early in Friday’s match, striking two shots toward the Yale goal in the game’s opening minutes. The Blue Devils, however, would not find the net until the last 10 minutes of the first half.

Dribbling outside of the 18-yard box, Shelly Marshall was taken down by a Yale defender, giving Duke an indirect kick. On the kick, Carmen Bognanno passed the ball to midfielder Darby Kroyer whose shot ricocheted off a Yale defender before finding its way into the net.

“I just figured I could chip it over the girls’ heads and luckily it hit off the head of a defender and went in,” Kroyer said.

Duke took a 1-0 advantage into halftime, having outshot the Bulldogs 10-2. When the second half opened, the Blue Devils again pounded the Yale goal, but Bulldog goalie Susan Star prevented Duke from adding to its lead.

The Bulldogs (0-2) had two chances to tie the game in the second half, but an errant shot over the bar and a clutch grab by Lipsher, which prevented a good scoring chance for the Bulldogs, kept Duke in the lead.

The Blue Devils began Sunday’s match with Davidson (1-3) just as they did on Friday, taking shots early and often. McDonald once again led the charge, heading a ball just wide of the left post only seven minutes into the game.

Unlike Friday, however, the Blue Devils got on the board less than nine minutes into the game when a missed clear by a Davidson defender left the ball bouncing in front of Sarah McCabe. Standing just outside the six-yard box to the left of the goal, McCabe struck the ball with her right instep, bending it into the right-side netting.

Just before the end of the period, the Blue Devils nearly added an insurance goal. After linking together a series of passes on the right side, a pass found its way through the defense to a waiting Marshall on the left-hand side of the goal. With no defenders left to stop her, Marshall ripped a shot that hit the outside netting just as the half expired.

Davidson came out of the halftime break with renewed offensive vigor, generating its first and only shot of the game 1:15 into the second half. The Duke defense, however, shut down Davidson’s offense for the rest of the half.

Duke sealed the game on a corner kick midway through the second half. Lauren Tippets headed the ball from the top of the 18-yard box to teammate Heidi Hollenbeck at the six-yard box. Hollenbeck redirected the ball a second time, with a header that found the back of the net.

Leading 2-0, Duke locked down on defense for the remainder of the game, only allowing a few long-distance free kicks that sailed harmlessly wide or over the goal.


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