Aug. 22, 2014

Chapel Hill, N.C.
Fetzer Field
Ohio State 1 (1-0-0), No. 18 Duke 0 (0-1-0)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Ohio State women’s soccer team topped No. 18 Duke, 1-0, on Alexis Degler’s game-winner in the 67th minute Friday night at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. The contest marked the season-opener for both teams.

“It was pretty cool to get the game-winner,” Degler, a sophomore from Cary, N.C., said. “To score a goal like that in front of people that I’ve known my whole life was awesome. This game was important for us to prove to ourselves that we can win these big games and fight to get a result.”

Duke had an early chance in the 14th minute when Imani Dorsey found Casey Martinez open on the right wing. Martinez dribbled in and fired a shot from just inside the box but Ohio State goalkeeper Megan Geldernick leaped to deflect the shot off the crossbar before it was cleared away.

A minute later, the Buckeyes created a chance of their own when Sammy Edwards found Michela Paradiso at the top of the box but the right-footed strike from the junior narrowly missed wide left as the game remained scoreless.

With less than a minute remaining in the half, Duke’s Rebecca Quinn controlled a failed clearance and lofted a shot from the top of the box over Geldernick but the ball deflected off the crossbar as the half ended scoreless.

After 45 minutes, Duke held a 5-3 lead in shots, including 3-2 on goal. Both teams tallied a pair of corner kicks.

Ohio State notched another opportunity in the 55th minute off of a free kick. Nikki Walts bent a ball into the box from 25 yards out on the left wing and Lindsay Agnew connected on the header from the center of the six-yard box but the ball sailed wide right.

The Buckeyes then took the lead on the Degler goal in the 67th minute. Agnew took the ball away from a Duke defender just outside the box and played a cross in to Paradiso, whose shot was saved by Kershner, but Degler was there for the rebound from eight yards for the 1-0 Ohio State lead.

The Blue Devils almost knotted it up in the 73rd minute when Toni Payne tracked down a through ball at the top of the box, took a dribble and fired a shot toward the far post but Geldernick again was there to make a diving save to preserve the Ohio State advantage.

With less than five minutes left, Duke’s Kelly Cobb connected on a header toward the far post off a corner but Ohio State defender Nicole Miyashiro was there to save the ball off the line and clear it away as the Buckeyes came away with the season-opening victory.

For the game, Duke posted a 22-7 advantage in shots, including 9-4 on goal, while tallying eight corners to two for the Buckeyes.

Geldernick, in her first-career start, made eight saves to tally the shutout.

“I’m really proud of my squad,” Lori Walker, Ohio State head coach, said. “We came into this game with a lot of new and young players and I thought those players really stepped up. Geldernick, in her first collegiate start in goal, was solid for us and Nikki (Walts) was probably our player of the game connecting us, sitting in the midfield and making things happen.”

Ohio State faces No. 4 North Carolina at 2 p.m. Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C.