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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
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
TEX 3
CLE 12
Final
COL 6
CIN 4
Final
MIA 2
PIT 5
Final
CWS 5
TOR 3
Final
KAN 2
NYY 4
Final
BOS 4
MIN 6
Final
PHI 0
NYM 7
Final
SEA 3
TAM 0
Final
SFG 3
MIL 1
Final
DET 3
OAK 2
Final
HOU 4
BAL 5
Final
WAS 3
CHC 0
Final
ARI 3
STL 4
Final
SDP 5
ANA 4
Final
ATL 3
LOS 2
1:05pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Tonight
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Tonight
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Tonight
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Tonight
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
7:05pm Monday
TOR
WAS
 
7:10pm Monday
CHC
MIA
 
7:10pm Monday
MIN
BOS
 
8:10pm Monday
BAL
HOU
 
8:10pm Monday
MIL
STL
 
8:40pm Monday
LOS
COL
 
9:40pm Monday
ATL
ARI
 
10:05pm Monday
TAM
ANA
 
10:10pm Monday
NYM
SDP
 
10:10pm Monday
NYY
SEA
 
10:15pm Monday
PIT
SFG
 
Final
HOU 90
GSW 104
Final
ANA 2
CHI 5
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR