Fresh off a 2-0 win over Clemson last week, the Blue Devils (3-3-0, 1-1-0 in the ACC) will be looking to continue their recent success in an away game against Wake Forest (4-1-2, 0-0-2) at the Spry Stadium.
After its midweek home game against UNC Greensboro this past Tuesday was cancelled, Duke, which has won three out of its last four games, is looking forward to Friday’s game.
“We’ve scored five goals in our past two games,” head coach John Kerr said. None more so than keeper James Belshaw, whose major role in the past two Duke shutout victories resulted in him being recognized as the NSCAA National Player of the Week in addition to being awarded the ACC player of the week.
“He’s been outstanding—his game-changing saves against Clemson last week were huge and gave the team the strength to go on and win the game,” Kerr said. He also described Belshaw, who scored a penalty in the game against Clemson, as “a great presence [and] a great leader.”
Wake Forest comes into this game having lost both its ACC matchups so far but Kerr was cautious against being too optimistic.
“They’re a top-20 team” Kerr said. “It’s going to be huge challenge for us but we’re looking forward to it. They’ve beaten some real good teams so far, so yes, it’s going to be a difficult game.”
They possess a balanced team and Kerr noted that strikers Sean Okoli and Michael Gamble could be potential threats.
“They’re quick on the ball, goal scorers and dangerous in the box, so we’ll have to contain them,” Kerr said.
Duke will be resting its hopes on the back five to keep Wake Forest quiet and Kerr said he believes that a strong defensive performance will give the Blue Devils a much-needed offensive surge in the game.
“We have some great defenders—Sebastien Ibheaga’s been in great form,” he said.
Kerr feels that a continuation of this high level of play will provide Duke the platform it needs in the upcoming match.
“If we can keep [our momentum going] then we have a good shot at winning this game,” he said.
If Duke does manage to get on the winning end Friday, then they’ll be over .500 for the first time this season.