Duke women’s soccer goes 1-1 in final weekend of nonconference play

Duke senior Katy Colas’ first goal in two years was a memorable one, as it would go on to be the deciding score in Sunday’s 1-0 victory against LSU.
Duke senior Katy Colas’ first goal in two years was a memorable one, as it would go on to be the deciding score in Sunday’s 1-0 victory against LSU.

In a move much reminiscent of the one he made during Duke’s victory against Arkansas, head coach Robbie Church made the bold decision to swap starters Toni Payne, Kelly Cobb and Imani Dorsey for reserves Katy Colas, Krysia Sikora and Casey Martinez.

The dynamic play that followed was just what the Blue Devils needed to pick up their game.

The switch happened with 14 minutes left in the first half of Duke’s 1-0 victory against LSU at Koskinen Stadium Sunday afternoon. Colas went on to score nine minutes later with a beautiful chip over the goalkeeper's head from 14 yards out.

“It was an absolutely huge goal and a huge composure goal too. [Colas] saw the opportunity and went up and over the goalkeeper. It was just a beautiful touch,” Church said of the sole goal of the game. “Energy is the main thing [the reserves] bring in, and Katy [Colas] brought that today.”

Colas’ goal—her first in two years—came from just one of many opportunities Duke (4-4) had to score. The team dominated the game from the opening whistle, putting up the first six shots of the game and outshooting the Tigers (4-3-1) 14 shots to two in the first half. It was just a matter of time before the Blue Devils’ effort translated to the scoreboard.

“When our group of three forwards come in—me, Casey and Krysia—over the past couple of games you just kind of knew a goal was coming,” Colas said. “We go in with a mentality to just work our butt off and try to wear down the defenders. When I saw Quinn’s head ball was a loose ball, we just have a mentality to go after it and take a chance. I was a little surprised, but I will take it.”

The win was much needed for Duke, which lost to Hofstra 2-1 Friday at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. Again, the Blue Devils outshot their opponent by a wide margin. But luck did not fall on their side as Hofstra scored on just two of nine shots all game.

“It was a very tough loss. We had our chances, no question, but we hit a couple of crossbars and a couple of posts. We’ve been a bit unlucky, but we didn’t do a good job coming out at the beginning of the game,” Church said. “We’re not as composed as we need to be. We’re pressing a little bit and we have to relax. I didn’t prepare them to play up to their potential as much as I needed to.”

The game was scoreless for the entirety of the first half. Sam Scolarici, who set Hofstra’s career goal record last Sunday, scored the first goal of the game 61 minutes in after a botched clearance by the Duke defense right in front of the net.

The Blue Devils retaliated after a handball in the box sent sophomore Christina Gibbons to the penalty spot for the second game in a row. She effortlessly drained the ball into the back of the net.

“In the Penn State game I kinda went down pretty easily when I felt the defender’s hands on me, but in this one the handball was lucky,” Gibbons said. “I’ve been practicing [penalty kicks] a lot and I take a lot of pride in them, so I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to take some.”

This weekend marks the end of nonconference play for Duke, and though going into ACC play with an even record is not ideal, the team is confident that it is ready to take on the powerhouses within the conference.

“We still have a lot to learn. We are still a young team, but I also feel like we’ve challenged ourselves with this nonconference schedule and we’ve learned a lot,” Gibbons said. “That’ll help us down the road during ACC play.”

The Blue Devils will face Pittsburgh 7:00 p.m. Friday at Ambrose Urbanic Field to kick off ACC play. They will use the break to focus on how to smooth out kinks in the defense and maintain the offensive prowess they have achieved during the past few games.

Improving on an already meager record will likely be tough for Duke, as eight ACC teams are currently ranked in the top 25.

“We’re realistic. We know we have to win some games in the ACC to get into the NCAA tournament, and we know that it’s going to be tough,” Church said. “The main thing you have to do in the ACC is look at one game at a time. You can't look at anything past that.”


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