#5 Duke Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

Duke Blue Devils

Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
Duke Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Duke Team Page


By ACC standards, Duke’s offense was just average. Until the NCAA Tournament, the Blue Devils won games with their defense. But in their great 2011 tournament run the offense picked up. Until the Blue Devils were shut out by Stanford in the championship game, they scored 16 goals in five games. With all eleven starters returning, this is a Duke squad that could be great if they can build off of that superb showing in November and December.

2011 Record: 22-4-1, 8-1-1
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Robbie Church

The defense is brimming with experience. Maddy Haller, Libby Jandl and Natasha Anasi started all 27 games in the back and Erin Koballa started 23. The unit as a whole recorded 16 shutouts in those 27 contests and that is not an easy feat considering the difficulty of the Duke schedule. With the back four loaded with upperclassmen, the Duke defense should be even better this year. Keeper Tara Campbell was starting in goal for just about every contest and she is an experienced senior who will not let much of anything get past her. Campbell will be a four-year starter in 2012 and she is a great leader of a great defense. Midfielders Nicole Lipp and Gilda Doria are solid defensive players and help get the offense moving from midfield.

The scoring is mostly done by midfielder Kaitlyn Kerr and forwards Laura Weinberg, Mollie Pathman and Kelly Cobb. Kerr and Cobb netted 11 goals each, while Weinberg added eight and Pathman totaled six. Cobb and Pathman are also great passers who combined for 20 assists. The few losses incurred by the Blue Devils heading into the 2012 season are mostly up front, but there are still players like Kim DeCesare who are capable scorers off of the bench. But it is the consistency of the scorers that can be an issue. This was a team that was only shutout four times all of last season, but they can go on little streaks where they fail to score or only net a goal a game for a stretch. It is during those stretches that Duke becomes vulnerable. The Blue Devils can also struggle on those rare occasions they are away from home. They tallied a 14-0-1 record in Durham, but just a 4-2-0 mark during true road games.

Final Projection:
This is a Duke team that has every reason to believe that they can make it back to the College Cup. And if they can make it that far, they can certainly win it all. Few teams in the nation, if any, have as much experience as this group. Coach Robbie Church will have to sprinkle in some youngsters off of the bench, but this is mostly a team that has been through the ACC grind at least a couple times and emerged with plenty of success. They were agonizingly close to winning an NCAA Championship last year and this time around anything less would be slightly disappointing. Putting together another 8-1-1 campaign in ACC play will require some consistency that this group could lack, although the vast amount of senior leadership could take care of that little issue, and after that they need to get hot at the right time again and this could be the group that brings the cup to Durham.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Kelly Cobb, Sophomore, F, 11; Kaitlyn Kerr, Junior, M, 11
Assists: Mollie Pathman, Junior, F, 11
Shots: Kelly Cobb, Sophomore, F, 91
Saves: Tara Campbell, Senior, GK, 73

Madness 2012 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#8 Cassie Pecht
#29 Kelly McCann
#43 Kara Wilson