As the first half of Duke’s Friday afternoon contest drew to a close, it looked as though the Blue Devils would head to the locker room without a much-needed goal despite boasting a 15-2 shot advantage.
But for the second time in as many games, junior defender Chelsea Burns converted on a penalty kick to lift Duke to victory.
The Blue Devils took down reigning Patriot League champion Bucknell 2-0 at Koskinen Stadium to notch their second win of the season. Burns delivered a clean shot to the right of Bison goalkeeper Dani Kaufman to put the Blue Devils on the board with just 45 seconds remaining in the first half. Senior captain Imani Dorsey then converted off a feed from junior Kayla McCoy just six minutes into the second half, driving a bullet past Kaufman and into the far corner of the goal for her second score of the season.
“I’m proud of our team for staying composed. Xavier last week was a big test of whether or not we’re going to be able to keep up the momentum and get a goal when we need to, and we showed that again today,” Dorsey said. “In the second half, we were just playing smart, playing simple and connecting when we needed to.... The goals will come.”
Duke (2-1) put pressure on Bucknell’s defense from the start, posting four shots and two corner kicks in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Blue Devils nearly found the back of the net in the 12th minute, when redshirt senior Rebecca Quinn threaded a long ball between two Bison defenders for Dorsey. The Elkridge, Md., native took a touch at the top of the 18-yard box and fired a rocket at the goal, but it ricocheted off the crossbar.
Duke took six shots and four corners in the following 25 minutes, but just as the Blue Devils seemed to be locking down the Bucknell offense and keeping the ball out of their own half, sophomore defender Mia Gyau went down with an apparent right knee injury.
The Colesville, Md., native was helped off the field following several minutes of medical attention, and after she was put in a knee brace, Gyau failed to return to the game.
“I hate to guess. I don’t know. It’s probably not good, but we’ll see. We’ll get her looked at right away tonight, though,” Duke head coach Robbie Church said. “Mia is a big part of us. She’s been a big-time player for us over the past year or so, and our program needs her back hopefully. We just wish the best for her.”
The Blue Devils responded to Gyau’s departure with a newfound sense of urgency. Junior midfielder Taylor Racioppi had two promising looks at the goal in the 41st minute—one from close range that Kaufman just barely got in front of and another from well beyond the 18-yard box that sailed just north of the crossbar. Quinn also sent four corner kicks in front of the net, but Duke could not convert.
But with the clock winding down and the prospect of a scoreless first half looming, Burns cut past her defender and dribbled toward the goal before she was tripped in the box. The Jacksonville, Fla., native stepped to the line and coolly placed the ball past Kaufman to send the Blue Devils to the locker room with the lead.
“I’ve been taking them in training and getting confident,” Burns said. “I know that that’s the moment to put the team on my back and do it for everyone else that’s earning them and playing their hearts out.”
Although senior captain E.J. Proctor was given the starting nod between the pipes for the first half, redshirt freshman netminder Brooke Heinsohn relieved her for the final 45 minutes of the contest. Each goalkeeper notched one save in the shutout, though the Bison (0-3) saw much less time on Duke’s side of the field in the second half than in the first.
With the ball mainly in Bucknell’s half, Dorsey was able to convert the first shot of the second period, streaking down the left flank of the field, slicing past the defense and firing the ball into the right pocket of the goal. Although the goal resembled the one she scored against Xavier last Sunday—which landed on NCAA soccer’s top plays of the week—her motivation to score came from an entirely different place.
“I was really excited because I just changed my goal song today,” Dorsey said. “I got to hear it and I was really excited about it. Yeah, that motivation was there.”
The Blue Devils spent the remainder of the contest controlling possession but never found a serious chance to score again. Duke completed the match with a 29-3 shot advantage and an 11-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Church’s squad will need to take advantage of more of its opportunities near the net as stiffer competition rapidly approaches. The Blue Devils will take on Old Dominion Sunday before facing three top-20 opponents in their next four matches.
“We had a lot of shots, a lot of balls over [the net] and a lot of balls just passed over. Those will come,” Church said. “Ella [Stevens] is going to score those, Kayla [McCoy] is going to score those, Taylor [Racioppi] is going to score those. I saw that chemistry starting to develop and that’s a big key.”
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