DURHAM, N.C. – The best coaches in the country officially reside in Durham, as the Duke women’s soccer coaching staff was tabbed the 2017 National Staff of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches Tuesday afternoon.
Led by ACC Coach of the Year Robbie Church, associate head coach Erwin van Bennekom and assistants Carla Overbeck and Lane Davis, the Blue Devil staff has orchestrated one of the greatest seasons in school history, highlighted by 13 broken school records and the program’s fourth NCAA College Cup appearance. Top-seeded Duke took down UNCG, Oklahoma State, No. 4 Texas and Baylor to advance to the Final Four for the second time in three seasons.
The Blue Devils amassed a program-record 23 victories in 2017 and went 10-0-0 in conference play en route to claiming the 2017 ACC regular season championship for the third time in history. Duke became the first squad since Virginia in 2013 to finish with a perfect record in league play.
Duke’s rewriting of the record book did not stop there, as it also set the school record for shutouts (18), home wins (15), ACC wins (10), ranked victories (9) ACC shutouts (8) and ACC goal differential (+20).
Church led his 17th DWS squad to the greatest winning streak in program history, as the Blue Devils reeled off 19-straight wins from Aug. 20 – Nov. 3, demolishing the previous record of eight-straight wins set in 2000. That streak helped propel Duke to its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance and 14th in the last 15 seasons, while also being awarded with the second No. 1 seed in school history, with the other coming in 2011.
In a season that saw Church record his 200th victory at Duke and 400th for his career (men’s and women’s), it also witnessed the Blue Devils rule atop the ACC and the nation in a number of statistical categories. Duke finished the season leading the ACC in eight categories and standing second nationally in winning percentage (.904), third in points (171) and goals (60), sixth in assists (51) and goals against average (.379), seventh in shutout percentage (.692), ninth in scoring offense (2.31) and 33rd in save percentage (.841).
Individually, the Blue Devil staff produced a school record three United Soccer Coaches All-Americans, as well as a school-best and league-high nine All-ACC stars this season. Those included ACC Offensive Player of the Year/First Team All-American (Imani Dorsey), Midfielder of the Year/First Team All-American (Rebecca Quinn) and Defender of the Year/Third Team All-American (Schuyler DeBree). Church’s ACC Coach of the Year honor is the second of his career, making him the sixth coach in conference history to earn the award multiple times.
Church and his squad preached dominance in the classroom as well and it once again showed off this year, as a nation-leading five players were named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team earlier in the month. Dorsey went on to be named a CoSIDA Academic All-American, while a nation-leading four Blue Devils were tabbed USC Scholar All-Americans (Dorsey & DeBree, First Team; EJ Proctor & Kayla McCoy, Second Team).
The Blue Devil staff, along with each of the 21 coaching staffs receiving Regional Staff of the Year recognition will be honored at the College Coaches Awards Reception on January 18, 2018 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Independence Ballroom in conjunction with the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Convention.
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”.