Duke has had a flair for the dramatic this whole season. Late-game heroics and unorthodox goals have been nothing outside the norm for the 10th-ranked Blue Devils.
Mia Gyau would be the hero this time for Duke.
Both searching for their first ACC win, Duke came out on top with a 3-2 victory against Wake Forest in a dramatic 90-minute match at Spry Stadium. In order for the Blue Devils to walk away with the win in Winston-Salem, N.C., Duke had to rely on a true group effort, as three different Blue Devils found the back of the net on assists from three different teammates.
Mia Gyau: Gyau seemed to have found the team’s clutch gene that had been missing since Duke defeated Santa Clara in overtime over a month ago.
All the momentum looked to be on the side of Wake Forest. Hulda Arnarsdottir had tied the game with only ten minutes left in regulation and it seemed as if the Swedish forward had made a reservation for overtime.
Gyau clearly had a different agenda as she stunned the entire stadium by belting in her second goal of the season.
After Lily Nabet hit the crossbar, narrowly missing ending the game herself, Gyau was in the right spot at the right time, heading the ball into the net and sealing the game for Duke (6-1-2, 1-0-1 in the ACC). After an exciting 85 minutes of play, Wake Forest did not have enough magic left to extend the contest, as the Demon Deacons were not even able to get a shot on goal off after Gyau silenced the stadium.
Marykate McGuire and Mackenzie Pluck: It was business as usual for Marykate McGuire and Mackenzie Pluck. Duke has needed their offensive prowess all year and the dynamic duo responded by each adding another goal.
McGuire’s contribution came early on after Wake Forest had come out and surprised Duke with a transition goal in the opening minutes. It did not take McGuire long to respond, as she took advantage of a ricocheted corner kick to put her team even.
Pluck had to be more patient and wait for the right time to strike. Whatever head coach Robbie Church drew up at halftime worked beautifully, as Pluck attacked the Demon Deacons (5-3-2, 0-1-1) right out of the locker room to put the Blue Devils up 2-1.
Brooke Heinsohn: Redshirt junior Brooke Heinsohn had her hands full throughout the night with an efficient offensive attack from Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons only had five shots on goal, but were able to score on two of them. Regardless, Heinsohn got the job done for the Blue Devils and provided enough defense to put Duke on the right road to make a run at a conference title.
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The Blue Devils have a premier matchup this Sunday against No. 1 Virginia in what could prove to be a deciding factor in who goes to the conference championship game in November. The Cavaliers bullied their way through their schedule, with only a small blip against Wake Forest which resulted in a tie.
With five ACC teams in the top 10, fans better buckle up for a wild ride, which, fortunately for the Blue Devils, will be something they are accustomed to with this nail-biter of a season.
Jake Piazza is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.