DURHAM, N.C. - Playing only its second match over the last 20 days, the 15th-ranked and third-seeded Duke women's soccer team showed no rust on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as the Blue Devils cruised to a 6-0 victory over Loyola University of Maryland at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.
Duke junior Kaitlyn Kerr tied a school record in the match with three goals and she moved her career goals scored mark in the NCAA Tournament to nine, which is also a school record. A product of Bensalem, Pa., Kerr became the first Blue Devil to register a hat trick in the NCAA Tournament. Duke's six goals was also a new NCAA Tournament record for the Blue Devils.
With the victory, Duke improved to 13-5-2 and will next play the winner of the Miami (Ohio) at Tennessee match on Friday, Nov. 16 in Charlottesville, Va. Loyola (Md.) concludes its season with a 12-6-4 record under the direction of 1996 Duke alum Katherine Remy Vettori.
The Blue Devils opened the match by hitting the crossbar off a header from leading scorer Laura Weinberg and then redshirt junior Kim DeCesare just missed a shot wide in the opening two and a half minutes. Katelyn Mcfadden of Loyola (Md.) then blasted a shot high before the Blue Devils went on a tear.
Duke scored its first of a season-high five first half goals in the 10th minute as freshman Cassie Pecht attempted a shot that was blocked, Kerr was there for the rebound and punched in her sixth goal of the year from six yards out to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
In the 22nd minute, Weinberg sent a perfect cross into the box to where Pecht finished her sixth goal of the season to give Duke a 2-0 advantage. Less than six minutes later Kerr registered her second tally of the match off Pecht's second assist and Duke led 3-0 at the 28:57 mark.
Duke kept attacking as the first half was coming to a close. The Blue Devils notched their fourth goal of the match as sophomore Katie Trees fired a shot that was saved and sophomore Kelly Cobb took the rebound and finished her second goal of the year at the 40:23 mark.
Just 39 seconds later, Duke added its fifth goal as Trees crossed the ball in front of the goal to a streaking redshirt junior Callie Simpkins, who buried her third tally of the season.
At the end of the first half, Duke outshot Loyola (Md.), 19-1.
Looking for her first career hat trick, Kerr had three excellent chances to score over the first 21 minutes but could not put it away. But the midfielder finally connected into the top right corner from six yards out in the 68th minute to notch the hat trick and give Duke a 6-0 lead.
Duke outshot the Greyhounds, 28-2, for the match and was led by Kerr's six attempts and Weinberg's five shots. Pecht, who is a native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., moved her ACC-best assist mark to 13 on the year, which is a new single-season freshman record at Duke and ranks second overall in the Duke single-season record books.
Junior Mollie Pathman and Trees each added two assists on the night for the Blue Devils, who notched a total of 20 points on the night.
In goal for the Blue Devils, senior Tara Campbell registered her 52nd career win as she played the first 45 minutes. Redshirt freshman Ali Kershner and redshirt sophomore Meghan Thomas each played the final 45 minutes in goal for Duke. The shutout for the Blue Devil defense was the seventh of the season.
Over the last two years, Kerr has tallied eight goals in the NCAA Tournament to lead Duke to six wins over seven matches. She now owns eight tallies on the season, which ranks third on the Blue Devil squad.
Cassie Pecht's 25 points on the season ranks third all-time at Duke on the freshman single-season points list.
Kaitlyn Kerr netted her 10th career game-winning goal, which ranks tied for fifth on Duke's all-time list. She also now owns three multi-goal games over her career to rank tied for eighth.
With her assist on the night, Laura Weinberg owns 80 career points and is now in sole possession of fifth on Duke's all-time points list.
Gilda Doria moved into a tie for eighth on Duke's all-time assist list with 19 over her career.
Duke owns 58 goals on the season to rank as the fourth-highest in school history.
The 67 assists on the season ranks second all-time at Duke.
The Blue Devils own 183 points this season, which is the second-most in school history (record is 203 from 2004).
Miami (Ohio) plays at Tennessee on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2:00 p.m.