Groff’s late goal sends Duke into round 16 of the NCAA

DURHAM – A header from Junior Katie Groff The 88th minute was all the Duke women’s soccer team needed against 16th-ranked Texas on Friday as the Blue Devils delivered a 1-0 win to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 for the third straight season.

graduate student Mackenzie Pluck sent a corner kick from the left and Groff scored her second goal of the season to propel the Blue Devils (14-4-3) into a round of 16 against third-placed South Carolina on Sunday, November 20 at 6 p.m., in Durham.

How it happened
• Duke had some great scoring chances in the eighth minute Mackenzie Plucks Header was saved and then had an attempt to hit the crossbar beforehand Kat Raders Shot sailed high over the goal. The chances were opened up by a great defensive game by the doctoral student Delaney Graham when she stepped up to steal a pass from a Texas defender.
• The Blue Devils controlled most of the possession in the first half and put up a superb defense that limited Texas to just two shots.
• Duke shot ahead 8-2 in the first half.
• The Blue Devils hit the bar as a newcomer in the 65th minute Devin Lynch used her left foot from outside the box and placed a ball that went over the bar and out.
• At the 77:55 mark, Katie Groff sent a long feed to a streaking on the left side of the pitch Michelle Cooperwho crossed a ball in front of goal, but Rader’s shot was blocked from eight yards.
• Duke then had six corners late in the game over 12 minutes and had four excellent chances, but the Longhorn defense was strong.
• That was until the score was 87-42 when Pluck found Groff the game-winner.
• The Blue Devils led 20-7 with Pluck (5), Rader (5) and Cooper (4) taking the lead.

Remarks
• Duke improved to 7-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament Second Round games at home.
• The Blue Devils are now 27-3-1 in NCAA tournament games played in Durham, NC
• The shutout was the 11th of the season and the third straight for the Duke defense. Ruthie Jones garnered two saves over 90 minutes to record her 25th career shutout and sixth of the season.
Katie Groff scored her second goal and second winner of the season. It is her fourth career record and her third winning goal in her career.
Mackenzie Pluck scored her second straight game with an assist from the corner kick and the 29th career assist, which tied her with Mollie Pathman for fourth on Duke’s all-time charts.
• Duke improved to 40-16-10 under head coach Robbie Church in the NCAA tournament.
• The Blue Devils scored from a corner for the seventh time this season and for the second straight game.
Michelle Cooper now owns 87 shots this season, which is tied for the fourth-highest in school history.

quotes
“First of all I want to congratulate Texas. Also here of course Angelas [Kelly] has done a remarkable job with this program. Between winning the Big 12 championship and a lot of special players on that team, so I think they’ve had a phenomenal year but are really, really proud of our girls. I thought we started a little slow. I thought we had to find our rhythm for the first 10-15 minutes, but once we found our rhythm I thought we played really, really well. I thought we controlled the game but as we all know in football sometimes controlling the game doesn’t mean scoring goals. We created chances in the first half, but then sometimes we didn’t have good runs. We ran too deep on our runs but we like what we saw. We like the combination game. We like it when we stay on the ball. We twirled the ball a couple of times and then they found a transition, but I thought we were really good defensively on all lines of the field. I thought we did a really good job when we lost counterpressing upstairs. The midfielders did a really good job of establishing themselves in their midfield and then our back did a phenomenal job playing Trinity Byars, one of the best players in the country. They really took her out of the game and so did Lexi Missimo, another really good player. This is a very talented team and to get a zero on the scoreboard is just outstanding. Excellent for our group.”
– Duke head coach Robbie Church

Next game
Duke hosts South Carolina in the NCAA Round of 16 on Sunday, November 20 at 6:00 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.

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