After winning their first four matches and ascending to number two in the national rankings, the women of Duke soccer suffered a disappointing loss to third-ranked UCLA last week. Sunday night, they bounced back by defeating TCU 3-1 in Fort Worth, Texas in the first-ever meeting between the teams.
It didn’t take long for the Blue Devils to quiet the record 3,648 fans who were on hand to cheer for their sixth-ranked Horned Frogs. In just the eleventh minute, Michelle Cooper scored her fourth goal of the young season. Cooper struck again early in the second half when she beat TCU keeper Lauren Kellett to the ball and put it into an open net. Cooper had her fifth and the Blue Devils led 2-0. A couple of substitutes figured in the next Duke goal. Kat Rader, who entered the game just after halftime, tallied in the sixty-first minute to stretch the lead to 3-0. Cooper and Devin Lynch, also a second-half sub, assisted on Rader’s third goal of the season. The Horned Frogs managed to get on the board seven minutes later, but could never pull closer. The 3-1 win brings the Blue Devils’ record to 5-1.
Duke’s Ruthie Jones was the difference in the game. The senior keeper from Charlotte stopped five of the six shots on goal she faced and made a pair of outstanding saves to allow her teammates to build a lead. She now has a 1.05 goals-against average through the first six games.
Head coach Robbie Church told goduke.com,
"“It is a huge, huge win to bounce back. It is such a funny game. We had the ball and we were so good on Thursday night against UCLA and we lose the game. Now, we come here; we don’t have the ball much. We battled and gutted it out and win 3-1. This is a crazy sport, but we are very, very happy to have the win.”"
Cooper, a sophomore from Clarkston, Michigan by way of IMG Academy, now has seventeen career goals. She has at least one point in nineteen of twenty-three career games. The Blue Devils return to action Thursday night at home against arch-rival North Carolina to open ACC play.