Katy Colas picked a good time to get her first goal in two years. The senior forward-midfielder came off the bench and scored late in the first half to lift No. 25 Duke to a crucial 1-0 victory over visiting LSU on Sunday at Koskinen Stadium.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Blue Devils, who were coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss Friday to Hofstra at Charlottesville, Va. With ACC play beginning this week – Duke visits Pittsburgh on Friday – the Blue Devils (4-4) were able to even their record heading into the toughest part of their schedule.
“I was very disappointed after Hofstra,” Duke coach Robbie Church said. “I thought we responded really, really well (against LSU). … I thought we made it difficult for them to really get anything.”
The Blue Devils’ goalkeeping tandem of Ali Kershner and EJ Proctor each played a half, with Proctor making the only two saves Duke needed.
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Duke took control from the outset and controlled play for most of the afternoon. The Blue Devils held a whopping 27-8 advantage in shots and 7-1 in corner kicks, but Lily Alfeld, who was the goalkeeper on New Zealand’s Under-20 World Cup team last month, was mostly up to the task.
She made nine saves for LSU (4-3-1) and was tested just two minutes into the match when she had to make a diving deflection of a close-range shot by Imani Dorsey, who took eight of Duke’s shots but was turned away by Alfeld five times.
“I thought we tried to get in too tight on the goalkeeper,” Church said.
Colas entered the match in the 32nd minute along with forwards Casey Martinez and Krysia Sikora, and eight minutes she later found an opening. Sophomore midfielder Rebecca Quinn controlled a ball on the right flank for Duke and headed it forward into the penalty area. Colas chipped a shot over Alfeld from 14 yards, and it nestled into the left corner of the goal at the 39:42 mark. It was her third career goal, as she scored two as a sophomore.
“When we come in, as a group of three forwards – me, Casey and Krysia – over the past couple of games you just kind of knew a goal was coming,” Colas said. “We always go in with the mentality of big energy. We want to be aggressive, try to wear out their defense.”
“Energy is the one thing they bring us,” Church said of the trio. “But they’re also skillful soccer players. (Opponents) relax when we sub our starters, and then these guys come in buzzing around. For Katy to get that goal at that time, we’ll keep that.”
Despite Colas’ heroics, Church would like to see his team finish off more of its scoring chances.
“There are two major things, in each of the boxes,” he said of his team’s need for improvement. “We’ve given up a number of goals on crosses, services and finishes. And we have to finish better in the other box. We have to win the battle of the boxes.”