For the women of Duke soccer, a difficult time period of three games against highly-ranked opponents in just eight days caught up with them Thursday night in a 3-0 loss to second-ranked arch rival North Carolina in front of 3,527 fans at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils had also done battle with then-third-ranked UCLA and took to the road to play number six TCU. “We have been in a really, really tough stretch and I think some of that caught us tonight. We planned that stretch and will be better because of the stretch,” said head coach Robbie Church in his postgame press conference.
How it happened
The first thirty minutes saw a lot of physical and often chippy play, but not much else-the only two shots came from North Carolina. But in the thirty-fifth minute, the Tar Heels’ Emily Moxley lofted a beautiful corner kick that Tori Hansen headed past Duke keeper Ruthie Jones for a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Devils would hold off their rivals until the seventy-fifth minute when Emily Murphy scored her third goal of the season to make it 2-0. Senior Isabel Cox closed out the scoring for North Carolina in the eighty-fourth minute. Both goals were redirections that Jones had little chance to save. It is the first time the Blue Devils have been shutout in nineteen matches.
The numbers tell just how much the Tar Heels controlled play. They had ten of their fifteen shots in the second half, while holding the Blue Devils to a season-low two for the game-six of those fifteen were on goal. North Carolina also had five corner kicks. “They played great. They swarmed us and were all over us. I thought we had good effort, but we didn’t have good quality, Church said. “We were not good enough tonight. We just have to get better and have to stay together. We have women of unbelievable character in this program and they will learn from this and we will be better.”
Not a time to panic
Although the loss is disappointing and drops the Blue Devils to 5-2 on the season, Church knows there is along way to go, “It is September 8 and trophies are not given out now. This is a lesson. We have to get better and we understand that. We have to grow from this game.”
The women now have some time to recharge their batteries before their next match. They will not play at Syracuse until September 17th.