NCAA Football

Groff’s last-gasp goal sends Duke women’s team to NCAA Round of 16 :: WRALSportsFan.com

Groff’s last-gasp goal sends Duke women’s team to NCAA Round of 16 :: WRALSportsFan.com

— An 88th-minute header from junior Katie Groff was all the Duke women’s soccer team needed against 16th-ranked Texas as the Blue Devils earned a 1-0 victory and third reached the 1/8 finals of the NCAA tournament in consecutive years. .

Graduate student Mackenzie Plack converted a corner kick from the left wing and Groff scored her second goal of the season to advance the Blue Devils (14-4-3) to a round of 16 match on Sunday, Nov. 20, against the No. 3 seed. seeded South Carolina at Durham 6 p.m.

How it happened
• In the eighth minute, Duke produced some great scoring chances when Mackenzie Plack’s header was deflected and then he had an effort hit the crossbar before Kat Rader’s shot flew high over the bar. The chances started with a great defensive play by sophomore Delaney Graham as she came up to steal a pass from a Texas quarterback.
• The Blue Devils controlled most of the possession in the first half and played excellent defense, limiting Texas to just two shots.
• Duke had an 8-2 edge in shots in the first half.
• The Blue Devils got a goal back in the 65th minute when freshman Devin Lynch used her left foot from outside the box to send a shot that flew off the posts and out of bounds.
• At the 77:55 mark, Katie Groff sent a long pass down the left wing to a streaking Michelle Cooper, who crossed the ball in front of the goal, but Rader’s shot was blocked from eight yards out.
• Duke then took six corner kicks in a 12-minute span late in the game and had four great scoring opportunities, but the Longhorn defense held strong.
• That was until the 87:42 mark, when Pluck found Groff for the game-winner.
• The Blue Devils held a 20-7 edge in shots in the game with Pluck (5), Rader (5) and Cooper (4) leading the way.

Notes
• Duke improved to 7-0 all-time at home in NCAA Tournament second-round games.
• The Blue Devils are now 27-3-1 in NCAA Tournament games played in Durham, N.C.
• The shutout was the Duke defense’s 11th of the season and third in a row. Ruthie Jones made two saves in 90 minutes and registered her 25th career shutout and sixth of the season.
• Katie Groff scored her second goal for her second win of the season. It’s her fourth career tally and third career game-winning goal.
• Mackenzie Plack recorded her second straight game with an assist on a corner kick and 29th of her career, tying her for fourth on Duke’s all-time list with Molly Pattman.
• Duke improved to 40-16-10 under head coach Robbie Church in the NCAA Tournament.
• The Blue Devils scored from a corner kick for the seventh time this season and second in a row.
• Michelle Cooper now owns 87 sacks this season, which is fourth-most in school history.

Quotes
“First of all, I want to congratulate Texas. Again, obviously to Angela [Kelly] did a great job with this program. Between winning the Big 12 championship and they have a lot of special players on this team, so I think they had a phenomenal year, but really, really proud of our girls. I thought we got off to a slow start. I thought for the first 10-15 minutes we had to find our rhythm, but once we found our rhythm, I thought we played very, very well. I thought we were in control of the game, but as we all know in football, sometimes control of the game doesn’t mean you’re going to score goals. We created chances in the first half, but then we didn’t have big runs at times. We went too deep during our runs, but we like what we saw. We like the combo game. We like to keep the ball. We turned the ball over a few times and then they found some transition, but I thought we defended really well on all lines of the field. I thought we did a very good job when we lost at the top, counter-pressing. The midfielders did a really good job locking down their midfield and then our defenders did a phenomenal job playing against Trinity Byars, one of the best players in the country. They really took her out of the game and Lexi Mishima as well, another very good player. They are a very talented team and for us to get a clean sheet is just great. Great for our group.”
– Duke head coach Robbie Church

Next match
Duke hosts South Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 6:00 p.m. in the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN+.



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