Stengel Scores 50th in 3-1 Win Over No. 18 Duke
Sept. 19, 2013
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeWSoccer)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Katie Stengel scored the 50th goal of her career as No. 6 Wake Forest remained unbeaten in 2013 with a 3-1 victory over No. 18 Duke on Thursday evening at Spry Stadium.
Stengel's milestone goal capped off the Demon Deacons' most complete performance of the season. Wake Forest's (7-0-1, 2-0-1 ACC) offense generated a number of scoring chances with Riley Ridgik and Caroline Wootten joining Stengel on the scoresheet. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe made four saves - none easy - to help the Deacs hold on to defeat the Blue Devils (4-4-1, 1-2-0 ACC).
"I think we came to life and took over the game down the stretch," said head coach Tony da Luz. "(We got) goals from three different players and had different players on the assists. (This team) shares the ball and is a very hard-working team, so if we keep up this work ethic then we're going to go a long way.
Stengel's 50th goal came in the 83rd minute. A through ball by Ally Berry sent her free down the left and she cut in for a little chip over diving Duke goalkeeper Ali Kershner who could do nothing but watch as the ball slowly dribbled across the line.
"Someone had to tell me after the game that it was 50," said Stengel. "It was great. If it helps the team win, that's all I can ask."
Stengel is the one of only three active players in the country that have netted 50 goals in her career and is the only one have done it in the rough-and-tumble ACC. With still more than half of the season to play, she has already scored 14 more goals than any other player to wear the Wake Forest uniform.
"Katie has been fantastic over these three and a half years," said da Luz. "This is the toughest league to score in, so if you're scoring goals consistently in the ACC, you're a quality player."
It was fitting performance for Stengel to earn her 50th goal in, as she characteristically contributed in ways other than just putting the ball into the back of the net herself. The three-time All-American created Wootten's game-winner out of almost nothing as she rescued a ball that seemed destined to go over the end line, drew the defenders and keeper over to her and then played a gorgeous pass back to Deacon freshman, who smashed a shot into the vacated net.
"Honestly, I thought the ball was going out," said Wootten. "Then I saw Katie kept it in and touch it back. All that was going through my head was to put the ball in the back of the net, so I did."
In addition to her six goals this season, Stengel has seven assists in the Deacons' eight games, putting her well on pace to break the Wake Forest single-season assist record of 11 assists - one of the only offensive scoring records that she doesn't already own.
Stengel's playmaking this season has been a big reason that a number of other scoring threats have emerged for Wake Forest. Ridgik's opening goal against the Blue Devils was her fifth of the season after she had totaled only three in her first two seasons combined. Wootten's score was her third of the year, and she also assisted on Ridgik's goal to give her nine points this year.
"I think the big thing is that I drag a defender when I get the ball, and then other people are open," said Stengel. "Riley and Caroline and all these players are making these great runs and getting free in the box, finishing all their chances, and it's great that we're able to put these balls aways."
Ridgik's opening goal in the 26th minute came as a result of a mishandled save by Duke goalkeeper Ali Kershner. Kershner had come well off her line to try to gather a long cross, but Wootten got her head on it first, forcing Kershner to save from point-blank range. The rebound rolled to Ridgik who blasted a shot from 20 yards into the vacated net.
The Blue Devils tied the game just after the half off of a set piece from the end line. The Deacons were able to clear the initial service, but the ball came to Toni Payne. Payne dished to Laura Weinberg at the top of the box, and Weinberg unleashed a rocket that found its way through the mess of players in the area and into the back of the net.
The Deacons retook the lead only 12 minutes later thanks to Wootten's goal. It was a deserved finish for the freshman who had hit the crossbar only minutes earlier.
The Deacons will hit the road for the first time in the ACC season on Sunday when they travel to take on No. 21 Maryland at 1 p.m. in College Park, Md.