Aug. 19, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. -
Playing its toughest opener in school history, the Army women's soccer team fell to No. 12 Duke, who advanced to last year's Sweet 16 Tournament, 2-0, at Koskinen Stadium Friday evening before a crowd of 475 fans.
After giving up both goals in the opening half (early and late), the Black Knights' defense stiffened in holding the Blue Devils scoreless over the final 45 minutes in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Army ranked No. 1 in the country in goals-against average, shutouts and save percentage last year.
Army head coach Stefanie Golan, who starred four years for the Blue Devils, knew it would be a tough test for her young team with 19 underclassmen on the Black Knights' 25-player roster.
"We came out here to put ourselves in a position to play a great team, and Duke is certainly a great team,"said Golan. "Duke came out firing in the first half, and a majority of our players have not seen a team of this caliber. The first half we were back on our heels a little bit, but the second half we came out and settled in and defended hard. The team never gave in and never quit. A 2-0 result against this type of program is a great result for us."
The Blue Devils tallied just 50 seconds into the game on Molly Lester's goal off double assists from Mollie Pathman and goalkeeper Tara Campbell. Pathman corralled a long feed from Campbell near the corner of the box and sent a cross into the middle to Lester, who chipped it in from eight years. The tally was her second straight season-opening game winner.
In the 38th minute, Callie Simpkins scored the insurance goal on a header off a free kick. The Blue Devils held a 13-0 shot advantage with five shots on goal and two others close, hitting the post and crossbar, in taking a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Army allowed Duke just five shots in the second half with senior goalkeeper Monica Lee rejecting all three on goal, including an attempt in the final minute on a header by Avery Rape, in pulling up with six saves to tie her career-high first set in 2008.
The Blue Devils, picked No. 12 in Soccer America's preseason poll, held an 18-1 shot advantage and led 13-0 in corner kicks. Army's lone shot was on a goal, a 30-yarder by Julia Stallard, in the 84th minute.
The Black Knights will look to rebound Sunday when they head to Boone, N.C., to take on Appalachian State.
"We will look to rebound and get up for this game," noted Army's third-year coach. "We are playing our second home opener on the road in the same weekend and that is not easy to do.
"After our game with Duke, we told the team how proud we were of the second half and that effort. We have to build from there and be able to rebound and have a solid effort."
ON THE PITCH: Four freshmen saw action with Mallory Herron drawing a starting nod at midfield with Lara Wilson, Ellen Duckwall and Jessica Koulabooth coming off the bench ... overall, 10 underclassmen were among the 16 players drawing time.