With Duke in the offseason, former Blue Devils have been competing in the NWSL. The Blue Zone takes a look at some alumni who have started their 2023 campaigns off strong:
Michelle Cooper, Kansas City Current
Michelle Cooper, a dominant striker who held the record for most goals and points through a sophomore season with the Blue Devils, has continued to be a key piece on the Kansas City Current. She has started all four of Kansas City’s games, and played 63 minutes in the Current’s most recent matchup, a 2-0 victory against the Orlando Pride. While she is yet to post a goal in the NWSL, she put up two shots on goal in the Orlando game and continues to present a goal-scoring threat to opposing defenses. Cooper has made an immediate impact since joining the league, and she will continue to terrorize goalies for years to come.
Caitlin Cosme, Orlando Pride
Caitlin Cosme, a three-year starting defender for the Blue Devils, has continued to see consistent minutes for the Pride. She has started and played through four games this year, including a recent game against Cooper’s squad. Cosme put up her first shot of the year in her team’s 2-0 loss against Kansas City, but she is yet to score. She has averaged a 28.6% tackle success rate and completed 80.7% of her passes. Cosme will continue to be an important piece of the Pride’s back line as they look to bounce back after an 0-4 skid to start the season.
Lily Nabet, Angel City FC
Lily Nabet, who excelled in the midfield during her time at Duke and was the 36th pick in the 2022 draft, has continued to play a role as a bench piece for Angel City. While she is yet to start a match this season, she put in 32 minutes in a 2-1 victory against the Pride and most recently closed out the last three minutes in a 2-0 loss to San Diego. While Nabet is yet to break through and see consistent minutes for the Los Angeles-based squad, she has continued to climb the depth chart and will work to earn more time on a talented Angel City team.
Mackenzie Pluck, Angel City FC
While Mackenzie Pluck is yet to play in any regular season matches for Angel City, she recently made her pro debut in the NWSL’s in-league Challenge Cup. There, Pluck saw five minutes of action, also making one shot attempt. The record-holder for games played with the Blue Devils, she will continue to battle to make the leap and see minutes in the regular season for Angel City.
Ella Stevens, Chicago Red Stars
Ella Stevens, who was named to the second all-ACC squad her senior year, has continued to play consistently for the Chicago Red Stars. While she is yet to play a full 90 minutes, Stevens has started all five games this season for Chicago and averages 72 minutes per match. She has also completed passes at a 72% clip and won 46.2% of her aerial duels. Stevens will look to help the Red Stars improve after a 1-3-1 start to the season.
Tess Boade, North Carolina Courage
While Tess Boade, a 2021 all-ACC first team member, is still recovering from injury, she will play a significant role on the North Carolina Courage upon her return. She started the Courage’s final three games of the 2022 season, playing 90 minutes in two of them and scoring a total of two goals on the season. Look for her to return to the field in the coming weeks, as she aims to continue to be a key scoring threat for North Carolina.
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