DURHAM, N.C. – Next stop: Orlando, Fla. Behind three scores and another dominant defensive showing, the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils (23-2-0) dominated the Baylor Bears (15-6-3) Friday night at Koskinen Stadium, 4-0, to advance to their second NCAA College Cup in the last three years and fourth in school history.
“Congratulations to Baylor,” head coach Robbie Church said. “What a fantastic year. Their staff has done a wonderful job. Their players play so hard – they compete. We knew that, we knew it was going to be a physical game and we knew that we had to move the ball. Erwin [van Bennekom], Carla [Overbeck] and Lane [Davis] just came up with a great game plan and I thought we just carried it out to perfection.”
The Blue Devils’ journey to capture their first national championship in school history now has just two steps remaining. Duke has advanced to the College Cup national title match in each of its four appearances.
Not only does the win send Duke to Orlando for the final four, but also nets the Blue Devils four school records in the process: most single-season wins (23), ranked wins (10), home victories (15) and shutouts (17). The 2017 DWS squad has now set eight new team marks in total to continue one of the best seasons in school history.
“The biggest thing is that we’re playing well and we’re moving into it with a lot of confidence and just knowing that we can win the whole thing, Imani Dorsey said. “It’s a really special feeling to know that when you work as hard as you do, things pay off. Moving to the College Cup is a really big accomplishment and it makes us know that what we’re doing is working for us. It’s a good feeling.”
For the third time in as many matches, the Blue Devils wasted no time in notching the matches first goal. Kayla McCoy put one touch on a rolling Taylor Racioppi cross to give Duke a 1-0 advantage just 5:46 into the contest. Her 14th score of the year marks the third-straight contest that the Blue Devils have tallied a goal within the first 10 minutes of play.
Duke's backline, which has shut out every opponent through four NCAA Tournament matches for the first time in school history, held the Bears without a shot until the 26th minute of play. Baylor got off two attempts in the opening 45, both sailing wide.
Friday’s contest was a physical one, as Baylor recorded a total of 17 fouls, an opponent high for Duke this season. Twelve of those fouls came in the first half, including a pair of yellow cards to Lauren Piercy, drawing a red and leaving Baylor with just 10 for the remainder of the match. The Bears recorded a total of three yellows and a red on the night.
It only took a little more than a minute into the second half for the Blue Devils to take advantage of the Bears being a player down, as Chelsea Burns and Dorsey combined for the assists on a back heel shot from Ella Stevens to make it 2-0. Baylor would barely have time to regroup before Duke added its third score as Dorsey put one to the right of the keeper and into the side netting for her 14th goal of the year at the 47:53 mark.
With their scores, McCoy and Dorsey moved into a tie for seventh for single-season goals. Dorsey also moved into a tie with Kim DeCesare (2012) for fourth in points with 38.
Duke’s defense kept turning the Bears away at every turn, allowing just a handful of shots with none providing any major danger to EJ Proctor and her backline. The Blue Devils nearly added a fourth score in the 69th minute, as Chelsea Burns drew a PK on the third yellow of the match for Baylor. However, the attempt would sail just high of the right upper 90.
Friday night's final goal would come at the foot of rookie Tess Boade as she took a pass from Rebecca Quinn and dribbled around a defender to connect on her first collegiate goal into the bottom right corner.
Proctor registered her 34th career shutout to equal the Duke all-time record held by Melissa Carr (1992-95). The shutout was also her 13th of the season to match Tara Campbell's school record total from the 2011 campaign. She also picked up a pair of saves to become the sixth player in school history to record at least 200 saves in her career.
Duke will face the winner of No. 2 UCLA and Princeton, who face off Saturday afternoon. The College Cup Semifinals are set for Friday, Dec. 1, with game times at 5 p.m. ET and 7:30 p.m. ET. Both matches, along with Sunday’s championship contest, will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
“The most important thing is that this team has worked so hard,” Church said. “They’ve had a common goal and that was to get to the College Cup and to play in a Final Four. I could not be happier that this team is going to have an opportunity to go down there. We’re going to go down there and we want to win the thing. We’re not just going down there to visit Mickey Mouse in Orlando. We’re going down there to win the thing. We’ll be prepared and we’ll look forward to Friday night.”
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