DURHAM, N.C. – Fresh off a season-opening victory over La Salle, the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils (1-0-0) will look to finish off opening week with a perfect record as they face off against the second-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (1-0-0) Sunday afternoon.
Kickoff from UNC Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium is set for 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted on ACC Network Extra, which fans can access through WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.
Opening 2019 With a Win
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).
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. Sophomore Marykate McGuire added insurance at the 86:22 mark to give the Blue Devils a 2-0 advantage. 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.
The Tobacco Road Rivalry
Sunday’s matchup between the two Tobacco Road schools marks the first of two matchups between Duke and North Carolina in 2019. The first contest between the two schools will serve as a nonconference matchup, while the second edition comes during conference play. The two teams have not met since the 2017 season, where the Tar Heels defeated the Blue Devils twice. North Carolina owns the series advantage between the two programs, 39-3-2, including a two-game winning streak.
New Face Added to the Coaching Staff
One of the top young minds in the game joins the Duke women’s soccer coaching staff in 2019 in the addition of assistant coach Kieran Hall. Hall joins the DWS program after spending the last three seasons as a volunteer assistant coach with the Duke men’s soccer squad. In his three years, Hall helped Duke tally a 31-19-7 record, including a 24-11-5 showing in the last two seasons. Hall was an instrumental part in helping the Blue Devils earn a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, as the program captured the No. 6 national seed in 2017-18 and reach the Round of 16 in both showings. The No. 6 seed marked the first time the men’s soccer program had earned a national seed since the 2009 season.
Marquee Freshman Class for the Blue Devils
Duke welcomes one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, as eight new faces comprise the Blue Devils’ No. 5 nationally ranked class, including Sarah Piper, Julia Burnell, Emmy Duerr, Julia Hannon, Natalie Maurer, Sarah Miller, Ruthie Jones and Gatorade National Women’s Soccer Player of the Year Sophie Jones. This is the eighth-straight year that the Blue Devils have reeled in a top 10 recruiting class, as the squad showcases six players ranked in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Top 150, including five inside the top 75. The six Top 150 players are the most in Duke history since the class of 2014.
Stevens and Jones Earn TopDrawerSoccer Honors
The duo of Ella Stevens and Sophie Jones have landed TopDrawerSoccer preseason honors. Stevens, named Second Team, has been listed on a TDS Preseason Best XI for the third-straight year. This is second consecutive year that a Blue Devil has been named to the Best X! Freshman Team, as sophomore Delaney Graham received the honor a season ago.
As a team, the Blue Devils landed at No. 17 in the TDS Preseason Top 25. Duke opened last season at No. 7 in the poll.
Looking Ahead for Duke
Following Sunday’s contest, Duke will shift its focus to the 2019 home opener, facing off against No. 7 Georgetown in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament Round of 16. The two teams are set for a 7 p.m. kickoff, Wednesday, Aug. 28, from Koskinen Stadium. The matchup will air live on ACC Network.
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”.