DURHAM — Despite some bumps and bruises along the way, Duke and North Carolina successfully wrapped up play Sunday in the Duke Nike Classic with two more women’s soccer victories.
No. 14 North Carolina (4-1-1) posted its fifth straight shutout by dismantling San Diego 5-0, and No. 4 Duke (6-1) overpowered No. 8 Marquette 5-2 at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium in the final nonconference tune-ups for the two ACC powerhouses. North Carolina blanked Marquette 4-0 Friday, when Duke beat San Diego 4-1.
Those Friday victories came at a price, however. The Tar Heels lost a starting defender to injury for the second time this season when sophomore Caitlin Ball suffered a leg injury. Meanwhile, Duke lost leading scorer Kim DeCesare to a sprained ankle. Their return remains uncertain, although both coaches, Tar Heels’ Anson Dorrance and Blue Devils’ Robbie Church, were upbeat.
And they should be. Their teams, also missing key players who have not returned from winning the Under-20 Women’s World Cup for the U.S., continue to storm through their early-season schedules.
North Carolina got two goals from freshman forward Summer Green, the tournament Most Valuable Player, giving her four for the weekend. However, she will miss the next seven North Carolina games while playing for the U.S. team in the Under-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan. Maria Lubrano, Alyssa Rich and Amber Brooks added goals for the Tar Heels, which got two assists apiece from Meg Morris, Ranee Premji and Brooke Elby.
Lubrano, Brooks and Premji joined Green on the all-tournament team from North Carolina, but Green was the key player for the Tar Heels.
“Offensively she’s been carrying us,” Dorrance said. “I mean, look at her stats (five goals, two assists, in five games). That’s a national player of the year statistic, averaging a goal a game with two assists.”
Green’s first goal, which gave the Tar Heels a 1-0 halftime lead over the Toreros (3-5), was a left-footed blast from 20 yards that found the upper left corner. Her second, which made it 3-0, came when Premji intercepted a pass and played a through ball that Green ran down in the penalty area and finished from close range.
Duke got similar offensive heroics from junior forward Laura Weinberg, who scored on a header in the first half to get the Blue Devils rolling against the Golden Eagles (3-1-1).
“We had that offensive mentality today,” Weinberg said. “We knew that we had to compensate for Kim being out, so we really took it upon ourselves today.”
“I like what we are doing offensively,” Church said. “We are sharing the ball well, we are passing and moving, we are running at players and we are very efficient around the goal. It is a great little streak we are in from an offensive standpoint.”
Weinberg had plenty of support on offense. Freshman midfielder Cassie Pecht and sophomore forward Katie Trees figured in the third and fourth goals. Pecht’s cross led to Trees being taken down in the penalty area by a Marquette defender, and Trees scored on the ensuing penalty kick at 69:23. Seconds later, Trees returned the favor by playing a through ball to Pecht for a close-range goal.
Duke’s Weinberg, Premji, Doria and junior midfielder Kaitlyn Kerr also made the all-tournament team.