COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Duke advanced to the NCAA tournament second round on Saturday as the Blue Devils (8-8-5) posted a 4-3 win in penalty kicks at Colorado College in front of a capacity crowd of 1,739 at Stewart Field.
After the two squads played 110 minutes with a score of 1-1, the contest went to penalty kicks.
Colorado College (15-4-3) stepped up and nailed its first two attempts, while Duke senior Mollie Pathman connected on the first kick for the Blue Devils. Junior Katie Trees had her attempt stopped to give the Tigers a 2-1 advantage heading into the third round.
Both Colorado College and Duke drained the next attempts as freshman Christina Gibbons placed in her shot and the Tigers continued to lead 3-2. Entering the match in goal just for penalty kicks for Duke was redshirt sophomore Ali Kershner. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Kershner made a diving stop to her left on a shot by Rachel Herron in round four followed by senior Laura Weinberg hitting the back of the net.
Entering round five, the match was all square, 3-3. Kershner made a second consecutive diving stop, but this time to her right and then junior Kelly Cobb calmly stepped up and sank the game winner to lift the Blue Devils into the second round by a 4-3 ledger.
It marks the third consecutive penalty-kick advancement for the Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament. The previous two were at Florida (4-2) in 2010 and versus South Carolina (4-1) in 2007. Duke went on to the next round for the 13th time out of the past 14 appearances.
At the end of regulation, both teams had 18 shots each with Duke holding a 9-8 advantage in shots on goal.
Colorado College featured a 3-1 edge in shots during the first overtime but neither squad could get anything in the back of the net.
The Tigers opened the second overtime with a two-on-two chance but senior defender Natasha Anasi played good defense and Sarah Schweiss’ shot went high.
Both teams attempted three shots in the second overtime and the match ended with each having 23 shots. Weinberg and Cobb attempted a team-high five shots, while senior Kaitlyn Kerr and freshman Toni Payne added four attempts.
In goal for the Duke, redshirt junior Meghan Thomas stepped up big in her homecoming game as she played 110 minutes in the net and finished with a career-high nine saves. Scheele added nine saves as well for the Tigers.
“It was intense,” Thomas said. “It was a lot of fun and it was definitely fun to be home and everything. It is great obviously. We are in the NCAA tournament, you lose and you are out. I am very happy that we won.”
Duke will next face second-seeded Florida in the NCAA second round next week at a site and time to be determined.