The Blue Devils are on the road again, and bringing their winning streak with them.
No. 5 Duke traveled northeast to SU Soccer Stadium Sunday morning to face off against Syracuse, looking to extend its win streak to four. Despite coming off a 1-0 overtime win against Boston College three days earlier, the Blue Devils showed no sign of fatigue, taking down the Orange 4-0.
Most of its production this season has come in the second half of games. But the Blue Devils started Sunday’s match strong, scoring three goals in the first 34 minutes.
“We really wanted to start this game out with a bigger sense of urgency. Especially when you play on the road, you really have to come out and be aggressive from the beginning,” head coach Robbie Church said. “I thought we were very, very aggressive. I thought we had a really good mindset early in this match.”
Duke (5-1-2, 3-1-2 in the ACC) enjoyed a breakout performance from freshman midfielder Maggie Graham, sister of junior defender Delaney Graham.
Less than eight minutes into the contest, the younger Graham scored her first collegiate goal off a wide cross by redshirt senior Mia Gyau and a quick tap by her sister Delaney.
Graham added a second score in the 81st minute, sending a clean shot into the lower left side of the net off and becoming the first Class of 2024 Blue Devil with a multi-score game.
“Definitely our play out wide—I think that’s where both of my goals game from,” Graham said when asked about what she thought worked well in this game. “Definitely the players’ talent and our movement to get crosses out wide was one of our biggest strengths, and helped us get all of our goals.”
Gyau, typically a defender, was pushed up into the midfield wing this game to create space for the Blue Devil offense. The strategy worked, with the Maryland native notching two assists over the first 20 minutes.
Senior Tess Boade scored the second goal of the day after a wonderful display of teamwork, with the Blue Devils coming together to create space and Gyau lining up the perfect opportunity for Boade to send the ball sailing past Syracuse’s goalkeeper.
“We took Mia Gyau, who is usually our back, and pushed her up really high,” Church said. “And then you could see the benefits of that, with her getting the first two assists of the game. She did a really, really good job.”
Freshman forward Olivia Migli scored Duke’s third goal in the 34th minute, sending the ball into the lower right side of the net off a pass from junior midfielder Mackenzie Pluck. The score was Migli’s second of the season after kicking in the game-winner against then-No. 3 Clemson two weeks ago.
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Goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn also made an appearance Sunday after not stepping onto the field since the Blue Devils’ season opener against the Demon Deacons. In the spirit of switching things up, Church put Heinsohn in goal for the entirety of the second half after sophomore Ruthie Jones defended the net over the first 45 minutes.
Heinsohn came back like she’d never left, maintaining Duke’s 411-minute shutout streak dating back to the first half of its match against North Carolina Sept. 27. The redshirt senior refused to give Syracuse (0-5, 0-5) what would have been its first goal of the season with six great saves, including one against a penalty kick.
The Blue Devils will hope to bring this same level of dominance to their rematch against North Carolina this coming Friday after falling to the Tar Heels 2-0 in their last matchup.
“We played very well last time out against North Carolina. We had a little span of about six to eight minutes where we gave up two goals. We haven’t given up a goal since then,” Church said. “We’ll look to continue to do some of the things that we did because we created some really good opportunities, but we’re better than we were last time we played them and we are looking forward to this opportunity to play against a really, really good North Carolina team.”