Duke blanks Radford in the first round
Kerr scores two goals to help the Blue Devils advance
DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke sophomore Kaitlyn Kerr registered two goals in the first 33 minutes of action to pace the top-seeded Blue Devil’s to a 5-0 victory against Radford in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday afternoon in Durham, N.C.
With the victory, Duke posted a school-record 18th win on the season to improve to 18-3-1 overall under head coach Robbie Church.
Duke came out on the attack from the start and on the first shot of the match in the eighth minute, junior Erin Koballa found Kerr on the right side of the box and the 5-5 midfielder flicked the ball over Radford goalkeeper Lisa Lubke for her seventh goal of the season.
Following eight more shots by the Blue Devils, senior Chelsea Canepa fed Kerr in the middle of the box where she found herself in a one-on-one opportunity with Lubke. Kerr drew Lubke out from in front of the goal and beat her to the right in the 33rd minute. The two goals matched a single-game career-high for Kerr.
Less than five minutes later, Canepa sent a cross into the box where freshman Audrey Gibson and Lubke both were leaping for the ball. Gibson won the battle and the ball fell at the feet of Duke freshman Katie Trees and the 5-9 forward put the ball in the back of the net for her first career goal.
At the end of the first half, Duke led 3-0 and held a 12-0 shot advantage. The three first half goals matched a season high for the Blue Devils.
In the second half, the Blue Devils continued to put pressure on the Radford goal, but reserve keeper Che’ Brown came up big with six saves over 37 minutes of play. The Highlanders attempted their first shot of the match after a cross that hit the left post and Mary Wiley sent in a shot that went wide.
Following a Radford foul in the 82nd minute from 27 yards away, sophomore Mollie Pathman used her left foot to send a perfect free kick into the box where redshirt sophomore Callie Simpkins headed in her second goal of the season into the back left of the net. Pathman’s assist gives her a team-high nine on the year.
Duke closed the match with one final goal in the 87th minute as senior Molly Lester sent a left-footed cross over the head of a Highlander defender to Canepa. Canepa drive in towards the goal and used her left foot to score her third goal of the season and 12th of her career.
Canepa posted a career-high two assists and a season-high four points on the day.
For the game, Duke outshot Radford, 25-1, with freshman Kelly Cobb attempting a team-high six. Kerr had four shots, while junior Nicole Lipp and Canepa each had three shots. The one shot attempted by Radford equals a season-low allowed for the Blue Devil defense.
In goal for Duke, junior Tara Campbell played the first half and didn’t face a shot, while redshirt freshman Meghan Thomas finished the match. The appearance was her third of the season. The Blue Devil defense continued to increase their school record for shutouts with their 15th of the season. Three Radford goalkeepers combined for 10 saves.
Duke has now won at least one match in the NCAA tournament in nine out of the last 10 years. The Blue Devils improved to 11-0-1 at home this season. The five goals scored in the NCAA tournament for Duke matches a school record.