Duke’s Run Ends in NCAA Quarterfinals with Loss at West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (GoDuke.com) – After allowing an early goal, the third-seeded Duke women’s soccer team tried to make a second half rally, but fell short Saturday with a 1-0 loss in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship on the road at top-seeded West Virginia (22-1-2) in Morgantown, W.Va. 

After West Virginia opened with two quick corner kicks and a header that went high, the Blue Devils jumped on the attack featuring four straight shots by freshman Olivia Erlbeck, junior Ashton Miller, senior Christina Gibbons and junior Imani Dorsey.  The attempts were blocked, went high and two were saved. 

On the Mountaineers’ third corner kick early of the match, Michaela Abam sent a kick into the box where Kadeisha Buchanan headed the ball to Alli Magaletta, who had her back to the goal and quickly turned to finish her third goal of the season.  The West Virginia goal at the 15:35 mark gave the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead and was the second-quickest goal of the season allowed. 

The Blue Devils were limited to only two shots the rest of the first half and went to halftime trailing, 1-0.  After facing seven shots the first three matches of the NCAA Tournament, West Virginia fired nine shots and held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.  

Dorsey, a product of Elkridge, Md., led Duke with two attempts in the first stanza, while junior goalkeeper EJ Proctor added three saves.  

In the first 20 seconds of the second half, the Blue Devils shot down the pitch and after a cross by Chelsea Burns the ball was redirected over the top of the Mountaineer goal by a West Virginia defender.  The ball nearly went in for an own goal.  It created a corner kick, but Duke could not take advantage. 

On the third corner of the second half for the Blue Devils, Miller sent in a ball to a leaping Dorsey, but her header went off the crossbar, which was the best scoring chance for Duke of the match.  

Senior Toni Payne started to make her presence felt and had a great one-v-one look in the 58th minute, after a great move along the left side of the 18.  Payne, who hails from Birmingham, Ala., tried a left-footed attempt that was heading into the goal, but Mountaineer goalkeeper Rylee Foster made a one-handed save to keep Duke off the board.  

Off a free kick just outside the box, standout freshman Ella Stevens turned and blasted in a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and came away in the 68th minute. 

The Blue Devils continued to put pressure on West Virginia and a great chance for Stevens with under four minutes remaining, but the shot went just high over the crossbar. 

Gibbons added a header in the 88th minute and the Blue Devils had a corner kick with under a minute remaining, but the Mountaineer defense proved too strong and held Duke scoreless for only the fourth time this season. 

Duke featured an 11-3 shot advantage in the second half and closed the match with a 17-12 lead in attempts.  Stevens had a team-best four, while Burns, Dorsey and Gibbons totaled three each.  

Duke fell to 3-6 in quarterfinal matches of the NCAA Championship and was held scoreless in three out of the last four appearances.