BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech posted a 3-0 win over Duke in NCAA women’s soccer quarterfinal action on Friday afternoon at Thompson Field in Blacksburg, Va.
The Blue Devils conclude the season at 9-9-6. The Hokies improve to 19-4-3 on the year and advance to the College Cup in Cary, N.C.
“I think the whole game completely changed with that goal with 13 seconds left (in the first half),” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “I thought we were playing really well. We knocked one off the crossbar and a couple off the post. So, I think two things happened, when we got the ball we just got nothing out of our attacks. It hit the post, crossbar, but when you get good opportunities you got to finish in these games, NCAA tournament games. We were close, but they didn’t go in. Then, unfortunately, with 13 seconds left, they get a goal and that’s like a double goal almost.”
Twelve minutes into the match, junior Kelly Cobb rifled a shot from 20 yards out that struck the crossbar. Senior Kaitlyn Kerr headed the rebound into the net, but was whistled for offside. With 13 minutes prior to intermission, Duke had another promising scoring opportunity thwarted when Tony Payne’s shot from the left side struck the far post and was cleared by the Hokie defense.
Virginia Tech’s Katie Yensen tallied the lone goal of the first half, scoring on an assist from Morgan Conklin just 13 seconds prior to intermission. Each team had seven shots in the opening 45 minutes.
“Well, they knocked it out wide and one of our players was stepping, but as she was stepping, they served it in,” commented Duke redshirt junior goalkeeper Meghan Thomas. “Then there was just a ton of players crashing in and I guess from my point of view, I just felt a ton of pressure. And then one of them got their head on the ball and put it in the back of the net.”
The Hokies added second half goals by Shannon Mayrose and Jazmine Reeves. For the match, Virginia Tech outshot Duke, 18-12. Hokie goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts registered five saves for the shutout.
Cobb, who is a product of Chugiak, Alaska, had a team-high four shots for the Blue Devils. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Thomas was credited with four saves over 90 minutes of action for Duke.
“We got an unfortunate feeling in the locker room – when we were talking at halftime as coaches – it was hard just to get everyone back” commented Church. “A lot of people were thinking about how it broke down and what happened to break it down. And Virginia Tech, like any good team, they came out hard because they knew we would be thinking about that at halftime and they knew how important that goal was and so as we are still thinking about it, we were a little slower. And they just really came at us in waves in the second half. Players were running off the ball well for them. Then, the last two, we started changing our formation, trying to get one back and that left players free to score goals.
For the second straight year, the Blue Devils conclude the season with a loss in the NCAA quarterfinals. Duke’s senior class of Mollie Pathman, Laura Weinberg, Natasha Anasi, Meghan Thomas, Alex Straton, Kaitlyn Kerr and Avery Rape finish their careers with a 57-27-13 record over the last four years.
Duke is expected to return five starters in 2014 – Cobb, Toni Payne, Lizzy Raben, Christina Gibbons and Kara Wilson. The Blue Devils will also return midfielder Gilda Doria and 2012 National Freshman of the Year Cassie Pecht, who were both out the entire season with injuries.