For the first time since 2000, Duke lost to NC State.
Going into the night, the Wolfpack had lost five straight games, including four ACC contests. Each loss was decided by a single goal and four of the losses came against ranked teams.
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, were coming off a 2-0 win over Syracuse and returning sophomore Olivia Migli and freshman Michelle Cooper to the lineup after each missing three straight games due to health safety protocols.
But all that wasn’t enough for the Blue Devils as Duke found himself on the wrong side of a one-goal differential, falling to NC State 2-1 in double overtime at Koskinen Stadium, scoring their first loss at home since September. 2020 game against North Carolina.
âWe have to accept at the start of the season, we’ve had some really, really good wins,â said Duke head coach Robbie Church. âNow we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘Okay, we’re not playing as well as before. Â»And what is that-[a] lack of concentration, lack of concentration? We gave way too many balls today. We had some very good chances to score goals, and we have to score goals. “
But the goals did not come against the Wolfpack, continuing a worrying offensive trend for the Blue Devils (8-2-1, 2-2-1 in the ACC). In his last five games, Duke has only scored five goals in total. In the previous five games, Duke had scored 17.
Despite the recent lack of goals, the Blue Devils still had the opportunity to sideline this one and claim the conference victory. At the end of the settlement plus extra time, the score remained tied at 1-1, after a second-half scoreline for both teams, and a second 10-minute extra time was looming – Duke’s second game this season to enter in overtime.
The second period saw an immediate change from the first, which saw teams trade throw-ins and fouls, rather than shots and saves. Twenty-three seconds later, a cross from Tess Boade just inside the penalty area found second-year midfielder Nicky Chico in the middle of the penalty area. But Chico’s deflection towards goal did not have the necessary angle, and NC state goalkeeper Maria Echezarreta made her third and final save of the evening.
A minute later, the Blue Devils hit their second shot of the period, this time a Boade shot on a Delaney Graham cross, but Boade sent it high. Duke saw two more overtime shots, both from Boade, but over time it looked like the Blue Devils would win their second draw of the season.
That is, until the Wolfpack takes possession with 30 seconds to play. Sophomore Jameese Joseph ran a solo run into Duke’s box and, with 19 ticks remaining on the clock, slipped a shot past Blue Devil goalie Ruthie Jones into the corner of the net, handing NC State (5-6-2 , 1-4-0) his first ACC victory of the season on a golden goal. Although they passed the Wolfpack by 15, the Blue Devils found themselves stunned on their home ground.
âThis could be a real turning point for us, in a positive way,â Church said. âHow do we react to this? All of these teams want to get a win from us because we’re very well ranked, and that helps their resumes, pushes them back to the NCAA image. We have to understand this. It’s the ACC, it’s the rhythm of the season. No one in this league gives anything to anyone. You have to win it every night, you have to go out and play and deserve to win and we haven’t really done that lately.
After a first half that saw no shots on goal from Duke and included more faults from Blue Devil than shots from Blue Devil, the second half was more lively for the fans in attendance. At just two and a half minutes, senior Mackenzie Pluck collected her third assist in three games when she found Boade on a through pass near the top of the penalty area. A short run from Boade and a nutmeg from the goalie later, and Duke found themselves in the lead.
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But it was short lived. Just over five minutes later, after a reset in her own corner, NC State sent a ball into the box which found an unmarked Annika Wohner, who easily directed the ball into the net on the right side for the score and pulled up her jersey to reveal the Superwoman symbol in her celebration afterwards.
The rest of the second half went off without too much threat from the Wolfpack and eight more shots from the Blue Devils, but with just one of them on goal. In the end, it didn’t matter.
Now, looking to the future, Duke risks missing out on the ACC tournament – which will feature just six teams this year – despite being ranked No.4 in the country. After the loss to NC State and the victories of the three teams just below them in the standings, they find themselves ninth in the conference standings and away. Returning to Koskinen, the Blue Devils must rediscover their identity that has made them so dangerous in the first seven games of the season.
âWe are very capable of winning every game on our schedule,â Church said. âBut we have to look inside ourselves – the staff, the players and answer questions. Big teams will make adjustments, big teams will come out with determination and big teams will make that change. This is not the end of the world.”