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WSOC: Duke Upends No. 6 Florida, 1-0, to Advance to NCAA Third Round

Posted November 23, 2013

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— Led by a first half goal by two-time All-America Natasha Anasi, the Duke women’s soccer team upset second-seeded and sixth-ranked Florida on Friday evening at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C., as the Blue Devils posted a 1-0 victory to advance to the NCAA Tournament Third Round.

With the win, Duke (9-8-5) will next face Arkansas (15-8) on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 1:00 p.m., at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils carded their 10th straight victory at home in NCAA action and advanced to at least the NCAA Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year.

“It’s a tough group,” said Duke head coach Robbie Church. “Once we left Boston College in the early part of October … just really took a beating, and we knew we had to get points in every game that was coming up to even get to the NCAA Tournament. We did that. We fell a little bit with Carolina and Florida State, but now we go back to a situation that’s elimination and the kids … it starts with our senior class who doesn’t want to end their career. To be in the Sweet Sixteen again, is just a phenomenal feat with this team.”

Florida came in with the second-leading scorer in the nation in Savannah Jordan, who had totaled 22 goals on the year. Jordan got the match started in the 17th minute as she headed in an excellent attempt, but Duke redshirt junior goalkeeper Meghan Thomas made a diving stop to her left to keep the score, 0-0.

“She’s [Savannah Jordan] a great player,” said Anasi. “There’s a reason that she’s the No. 2 goal scorer. We were just focusing on having her play balls back. We didn’t want her to get anything in behind. If we can keep her in front of us, we knew that we could do a very good job playing against her and that’s what we did.”

Less than four minutes later, the Blue Devils would strike. Senior Mollie Pathman served a corner kick from the right side where redshirt senior Kim DeCesare was there to head it back to in front of the box. Anasi, a senior from Arlington, Texas, one-timed her second goal of the season to put the Blue Devils ahead 1-0. It marked her first career NCAA Tournament goal and the fourth tally of her career.

“It was a corner that was sent in,” said Anasi. “I think Kim [DeCesare] got the header, and I just knew that second balls were a big thing we’ve been working on. I tried to put myself in a good spot to put that away, and luckily Kimmy screened off the keeper and went in.”

Pathman and DeCesare added their second assists so far in the NCAA Tournament. A product of Durham, N.C., Pathman registered her seventh career assist in NCAA play to become Duke’s all-time leader in dishes in NCAA action.

“It was great. Natasha [Anasi] is a player who works really hard on defense, and to see her score was the lift that we needed,” commented Thomas. “She was amazing on defense, shut down one of their top scorers in the nation. She did everything today. I’m really happy and I’m really proud of her.”

Each team added two more shots to close the first half as Thomas notched two saves on the attempts by the Gators. Both teams closed the first 45 minutes with four shots and Thomas added four saves.

“What a great set play,” commented Church on Anasi’s goal. “Kimmy [DeCesare] made a great decision. Mollie [Pathman] drove it well, ball went to the backside. Lot of times people will try and put that on goal; she made a great decision [to] bring it back across. And it was such a great finish by Natasha [Anasi]. She’s been close so many times on set plays during the course of the year. She’s saved that one goal that we knew was coming at a really good point, too. I am just really proud of the kids and how hard they played.”

The second half was very even, but Duke featured the first scoring chance of the stanza as senior Laura Weinberg showed some fancy footwork as she drove into the box from the left side and passed to freshman Toni Payne. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Payne fired a left-footed shot that Florida keeper Taylor Burke dove to her right to make the stellar save in the 57th minute.

Florida put the pressure on Duke over the final 20 minutes as the Gators attempted five out of the final six shots but the Blue Devils held strong. In the 84th minute, Christen Westphal fired a shot at Thomas but the 6-2 netminder dove to the right and batted the ball outside the post to keep the score, 1-0, in favor of Duke.

“She shot it; I just did what I was supposed to do,” commented Thomas. “And it luckily it perished very far away and my team was there to clear it out.”

In the final minute, Florida attempted a header by Jordan, but the shot went wide left and the Blue Devils held on for their seventh shutout of the season. The Gators closed the match with an 11-7 shot advantage. Jordan was held to only three shots for Florida.

“I thought [Natasha Anasi and Lizzy Raben] did a good job,” commented Church on marking Jordan. “Savannah’s a great player. She’s had a wonderful year. It took both of them, but I thought we did a good job of fronting and backing players. Didn’t let her turn, didn’t let her get space, any separation. Just did a wonderful job of keeping her, as much as you can, at bay.

Duke was led by Kelly Cobb and Kaitlyn Kerr with two shots each, while Thomas added seven saves in the net for the Blue Devils.

“We went prevent defense a little bit,” Church said regarding the end of the match. “So we took a forward off and we dropped another so we went 4-2-3-1. They weren’t getting good looks. The one the girl hit from the outside, Megan [Thomas] made a fantastic save. But it really wasn’t that good of a look. We knew if we pulled a player off, they would come down the middle of the field on us. We made a decision and we stuck with it. Fortunately, it came out to be a good decision.”

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
2nd
UNCW 35
ECU 25
 
2nd
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
Half
CHA 52
UTA 39
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
Half
NOP 44
POR 62
 
Half
CHA 52
UTA 39
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
Final
UTEP 6
UTST 21
Final
COLST 10
UTAH 45
3rd
AFA 23
WMICH 10
 
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
Final
KENT 83
UCLA 44
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
Final
RIU 69
DET 55
Final
UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
Final
MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
Final
NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
WAGN 66
MON 74
 
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
PITT 81
OU 77
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
Final
AFA 75
UCD 81
Final
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Final
JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
Final
DRAK 54
ISU 83
Final
SHU 73
UNH 60
 
Final
SCU 72
NE 78
 
Final
MSU 64
TXSOU 71
Final
UF 63
WAKE 50
Final
ND 94
PURD 63
Final
SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
2nd
AUB 73
XAV 71
 
Half
AKR 48
BLUFFTON 27
 
Half
DAY 39
BU 32
 
2nd
UNCW 35
ECU 25
 
Half
CLMB 34
HOF 38
 
Half
GMAS 45
IONA 38
 
2nd
TOWS 15
LAS 32
 
2nd
MAN 45
MRGST 42
 
2nd
CCST 45
YALE 56
 
2nd
PEPP 32
RICH 33
 
2nd
MAR 34
STJOE 45
 
Half
KYST 39
TEXAM 32
 
2nd
MAST 45
VALPO 44
 
Half
UMKC 44
INCWORD 31
 
1st
IDST 29
CALST 29
 
1st
NIOWA 20
IOWA 24
 
1st
SIUE 14
UWMIL 16
 
1st
TEX 5
LBSU 5
 
1st
TCU 0
TXSA 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
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WASH
OKLA
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
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WEBER
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WVU
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SDST
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10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
2nd
CLB 1
CHI 0
 
2nd
BUF 0
COL 2
 
1st Intermission
PIT 2
FLA 1
 
2nd
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
1st Intermission
MON 1
OTT 1
 
1st Intermission
TOR 3
PHI 3
 
2nd
NYI 0
TAM 0
 
2nd
NJD 0
WAS 1
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
 
8:25pm Tonight
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