DURHAM, N.C. – UNCG's women's soccer team completed play at the Duke Nike Classic on Sunday, falling 2-0 to the No. 6/10 host Blue Devils at Koskinen Stadium.
Spartan keeper Kelsey Kearney and defender Stephanie Partenheimer were named to the all-tournament team as UNCG (1-5) hung with the top-10 Blue Devils (7-1) and No. 1 North Carolina in its two contests at the classic.
The Spartans got solid performances from its entire defensive unit over the weekend, with Tinna Bergthorsdottir, Casey Godwin and Lauren Lover teaming with Kearney and Partenheimer to limit the two national powerhouse programs to a combined four goals, including scoreless halves against both of them.
"I am very excited about what our back line was able to achieve this weekend against two top-10 teams," UNCG coach Steve Nugent said.
UNCG kept Duke, ranked No. 6 by Soccer America and No. 10 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Top 25, off the board in the first half as the teams entered halftime locked in a scoreless duel.
The Blue Devils finally broke through in the 68th minute as tournament MVP Kaitlyn Kerr notched her third goal of the season off passes from Alex Straton and Libby Jandl. Kerr's floater from 25 yards out snuck into the upper left 90 past the outreached arms of a leaping Kearney.
Duke added an insurance score in the 86th minute, with Erin Koballa converting a Kelly Cobb pass for her first career goal.
Kristin Player had UNCG's only shot of the afternoon, as the Spartans put together a nice sequence of passes to get Player free in the 18th minute. Her attempt forced Duke keeper Tara Campbell's only save of the day.
The Blue Devils, who had a shot go off the post in the 21st minute and saw a UNCG defender clear a ball off the line in the 74th, outshot UNCG 24-1. Kearney rose to the challenge, making 10 saves to match the career high she set against Stanford in 2008.
"We've gone into every game in the nonconference knowing that we have a chance to beat teams in the ACC because we have Kelsey in goal," Nugent said. "Kelsey just gives us a chance to win every game. Today was no different. All the credit to them. They kept plugging away. They grinded it out today, so give Duke a lot of credit. They found a way to win."
All five teams that UNCG has lost to this season currently appear in the top 25 of at least one national poll. The Spartans opened the season with a loss against unranked Virginia Tech, which has since entered the national rankings, and has lost to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 14 Wake Forest and No. 23 Tennessee.
UNCG returns to action Friday when it hosts Nugent's previous team, Georgia, at the UNCG Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m. Nugent was an assistant for the Bulldogs before coming to UNCG.
2011 Duke Nike Classic All-Tournament Team
Crystal Dunn (UNC)
Chelsea Jones (Texas A&M)
Kelly Cobb (Duke)
Amber Brooks (UNC)
Kelsey Kearney (UNCG)
Natasha Anasi (Duke)
Merritt Mathias (Texas A&M)
Stephanie Partenheimer (UNCG)
Meghan Streight (Texas A&M)
Courtney Jones (UNC)
Erin Koballa (Duke)
MVP - Kaitlyn Kerr (Duke)
No. 6/10 Duke 2, UNCG 0
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UNCG................ 0 0 - 0
Duke……........... 0 2 - 2
1. 67:15 DUKE Kaitlyn Kerr (3) (Alex Straton;Libby Jandl)
2. 85:07 DUKE Erin Koballa (1) (Kelly Cobb)
Shots: UNCG 1, Duke 24; Saves: UNCG 11 (Kelsey Kearney 10; TEAM 1), Duke 1 (Tara Campbell 1); Corner kicks: UNCG 0, Duke 8; Fouls: UNCG 4, Duke 4.
- UNCG -