CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Even though the 10th-ranked Duke women’s soccer team outshot Ohio State, 22-7, in the season opener Friday evening, the Blue Devils dropped a 1-0 decision to the Buckeyes in game one of the UNC Nike Classic at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Blue Devils dominated most of the match that featured Duke hitting the crossbar three times and Ohio State (1-0) heading a shot off the line late in the contest. Duke falls to 0-1 and will next face sixth-ranked Stanford Sunday, Aug. 24 at 12:00 p.m., to close the UNC Nike Classic.
“I am frustrated because we did so many good things,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “We created so many good chances. You feel bad for the team here because I thought we played really, really well at times. The final component is finishing goals and we have to finish goals.”
After being delayed for 59 minutes to start the match, the Blue Devils came out on the attack with the first shot of the match just a minute and 11 seconds in off the leg of rookie Imani Dorsey that was saved by Ohio State keeper Megan Geldernick.
Then at the 11:25 mark, freshman Ashton Miller and sophomore Toni Payne played two great balls to Dorsey. A product of Elkridge, Md., Dorsey took two touches in front of the goal and Geldernick stopped her second straight attempt that went right at her.
Blue Devil freshman Casey Martinez had a great opportunity at the 13:05 mark as she used her right foot to send a ball from the right side toward the left corner of the net, but Geldernick got one had up to save the shot, before hitting the crossbar.
Ohio State had a couple of opportunities, but Blue Devil redshirt junior goalkeeper Ali Kershner made two saves. Late in the first half, sophomore midfielder Rebecca Quinn made a great move to get past two OSU defenders and lifted a shot off the crossbar.
At the end of the first stanza, Duke and Ohio State were knotted, 0-0. The Blue Devils held a 6-3 shot advantage.
The Blue Devils opened the second half with a quick shot up the middle by defender Kara Wilson, but the attempt was blocked less than two minutes into the stanza.
After the Blue Devils controlled most of the match, the Buckeyes were able to take a 1-0 lead at the 66:05 mark. Duke turned the ball over on its defensive end and Michela Paradiso was left with a one-v-one chance against Kershner. A product of Palo Alto, Calif., Kershner made a great save on the first attempt but the rebound came back to Alexis Degler. Degler was able to finish the goal before Kershner could get back into position.
Duke came back and had a great chance to tie the match with almost 20 minutes remaining as Miller sent in a corner kick to the head of senior Kelly Cobb. A product of Chugiak, Alaska, Cobb headed the attempt into the left corner of the goal, but an Ohio State defender knocked the ball off the line to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the Buckeyes.
The Blue Devils added a few late shots but couldn’t get anything past the Ohio State defense.
For the match, Duke outshot Ohio State, 22-7, with Payne attempting a team-high five. Quinn came off the bench to post four shots, while Dorsey (4), Martinez (2) and Christina Gibbons (2) had multiple attempts. A total of nine different Blue Devils fired shots.
For the first time in school history, Duke started five freshmen on the night –Martinez, Dorsey, Miller, Morgan Reid and Schuyler DeBree. The previous high was four in 2002.
In goal for Duke, Kershner finished with three saves in 77:47 minutes, while freshman EJ Proctor came in to play the final 12:13 of the match.
Notes: • Duke snapped a nine-match undefeated streak in season openers as the Blue Devils were 8-0-1 in the previous nine openers. • The match was delayed until 5:59 due to inclement weather in the area. It was supposed to start at 5 pm. • Redshirt senior Gilda Doria entered the lineup in the first half for the first time since the 2012 campaign, after missing last season with a knee injury.