CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – After a quiet opening half, the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils (1-0-0) turned on the pressure and fired home a pair of goals to open the season with a 2-0 victory at UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium against the La Salle Explorers (0-1-0).
“We got off to a slow start in the first half, but I thought the second half was great,” said head coach Robbie Church. “We locked them in and created a ton of opportunities. Our body language was different and the mentality was different. We stayed with it. This game goes up and down scoring goals. We have some great attacking players. They can score goals, and they’ll score a lot of goals this year.”
Senior Ella Stevens began the second half surge for the Blue Devils in the 68th minute of action, scoring her first goal of the new campaign. The Grayson, Ga., native dribbled the ball past several defenders on the right side of the pitch, creating her own shot and delivering a strike just past the keeper’s outstretched hands to place Duke in the scoring column.
Sophomore Marykate McGuire added insurance at the 86:22 mark to give the Blue Devils a 2-0 advantage. The second-year forward drove the ball a third of the field, splitting multiple defenders before slipping a ball past the goalkeeper for Duke’s second score of the contest.
The two goals propelled Duke to its 27th win on opening day in program history, while marking the second consecutive opening day win for the Blue Devils.
It was a scoreless game after the first 45 minutes of play despite the Blue Devils reeling off eight shots to the Explorers’ four. Duke recorded 14 second-half shots on its way to outshooting La Salle, 22-10, across the contest. The two teams each finished with five corners, while also tying in fouls with 11 apiece.
Redshirt junior Brooke Heinsohn picked up the win for Duke, securing the solo shutout with a pair of saves to hold the Explorers scoreless.
The duo of junior Remi Swartz and freshman Sophie Jones made their first career starts as a Blue Devil, while the freshman quartet of Natalie Maurer, Sarah Piper, Julia Hannon and Emmy Duerr all made their collegiate debuts.
Duke will conclude its play in Chapel Hill with a matchup against second-ranked North Carolina. The two rivals are set for a 6 p.m. match Sunday evening at UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium, which will air live on ACC Network Extra.
For more information on Duke women’s soccer, follow the Blue Devils on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for “DukeWSoc”. You can also find all-access coverage of all Duke athletic programs on SnapChat by searching for “dukeathletics”.