DURHAM — Playing only its second match over the last 20 days, the third-seeded Duke women’s soccer team showed no rust Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as the Blue Devils cruised to a 6-0 victory over Loyola University of Maryland.
Duke junior Kaitlyn Kerr tied a school record in the match with three goals. Kerr became the first Blue Devil to register a hat trick in the NCAA Tournament. Duke’s six goals was also a new NCAA Tournament record for the Blue Devils.
With the victory, Duke (13-5-2) will next play the winner of the Miami (Ohio) at Tennessee match next Friday in Charlottesville, Va.
Duke leading scorer Laura Weinberg opened the match with a missed shot off the crossbar followed by a wide shot from redshirt junior Kim DeCesare just two and a half minutes in. Loyola’s Katelyn Mcfadden then blasted a shot high before the Blue Devils went on a tear.
Duke scored its first of a season-high five first half goals in the 10th minute as freshman Cassie Pecht attempted a shot that was blocked, Kerr was there for the rebound and punched in her sixth goal of the year from six yards out to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.
In the 22nd minute, Weinberg sent a perfect cross into the box to where Pecht finished her sixth goal of the season to give Duke a 2-0 advantage. Less than six minutes later Kerr registered her second tally of the match off Pecht’s second assist and Duke led 3-0 at the 28:57 mark.
Duke kept attacking as the first half came to a close. The Blue Devils notched their fourth goal of the match as sophomore Katie Trees fired a shot that was saved and sophomore Kelly Cobb took the rebound and finished her second goal of the year at the 40:23 mark.
Just 39 seconds later, Duke added its fifth goal as Trees crossed the ball in front of the goal to a streaking redshirt junior Callie Simpkins, who buried her third tally of the season.
At the end of the first half, Duke outshot Loyola, 19-1.