DURHAM, N.C. — Playing in its first Elite Eight in school history, the Baylor soccer team knew it faced major odds against a powerful Duke squad that has dominated Big 12 opponents.
The Bears became the latest victim as the No. 1 regional seed Blue Devils ran away with a 4-0 win on Friday night at Koskinen Stadium to advance to the College Cup final four in Orlando, Fla.
Duke (23-2) has beaten the best Big 12 teams by a combined score of 18-0 this season. The Blue Devils knocked off West Virginia, 4-0, during the regular season before taking a 7-0 win over Oklahoma State in the second round of the NCAA tournament and a 3-0 win over Texas in the third round.
“This was obviously not the way we wanted to go out tonight,” said Baylor coach Paul Jobson. “We wanted to keep playing, but we lost to a really good team. Duke’s a fantastic team. I’ve been saying all year that this team has a chance to win the whole thing, and I’d be shocked if they don’t.”
The Bears got into an early hole as Kayla McCoy scored Duke’s first goal less than six minutes into the match.
Baylor (15-6-3) recorded 12 fouls in the first half, including a pair of yellow cards to Lauren Piercy, who drew a red card and left Baylor with just 10 players for the remaining 50 minutes of the game.
The Blue Devils took advantage of the man-up situation in the second half as Ella Stevens and Imani Dorsey delivered goals in the first three minutes to put Duke up 3-0.
Duke’s final goal came from freshman Tess Boare as she dribbled around a defender and connected on her first collegiate goal into the bottom right corner. Duke finished the night with 18 shots to Baylor’s 11.
“We gave up an early goal that really set us back and put us on our heels,” Jobson said. “I think it was great to see how we rallied after that and really played well I thought with 10 players. I’d like to see what this game would have been like if it was 11 vs. 11 for more of the match, but it wasn’t and we had to deal with it.”
Baylor gave up four goals in a game for the first time since a 4-3 loss to West Virginia on Sept. 29, 2013.
Duke senior goalkeeper E.J. Proctor collected her 13th shutout of the season and tied the school record with the 34th of her career as Duke advanced to the national semifinals against the winner of Saturday’s UCLA-Princeton game.
Meanwhile, Baylor will use its outstanding season to build for the future.
“There will be a lot of momentum,” Jobson said. “The kids coming back will know what it takes to get here. They’ve experienced it, the highs and lows of it. The veterans that are coming back know what it looks like and what not to settle for. That’s the exciting thing coming into next season.”