After dropping a 2-1 heartbreaker to No. 1 Maryland Friday, Duke bounced back in a midweek matchup with Presbyterian Tuesday night. Junior Alex Sauciuc tallied his first career goal as the Blue Devils shut out Presbyterian 2-0.
Friday night, Terrapin senior John Stertzer struck 13 minutes into the game, giving Maryland (12-0-1, 5-0 in the ACC) a 1-0 lead. Duke sophomore Nat Eggleston evened the score at one 15 minutes later off a corner kick from freshman Ryan Thompson. With fewer than four minutes remaining in the half, however, Terrapin freshman Christiano Francois scored the game-winning goal. Maryland fired 11 shots in the second half, but the Blue Devils’ defense held the Terrapins scoreless. Maryland outshot Duke 19-8 on the day.
“We did pretty well with possession,” Blue Devil head coach John Kerr said. “It’s just our final third that we’re struggling with and not making decisive movements and aggressive shots on goal, so we’re missing a little killer instinct in that part of the field.”
Duke (5-6-1, 2-3-1) continued its success in maintaining possession Tuesday against the Blue Hose (3-12), but again struggled to capitalize on offensive opportunities. While the Blue Devils held possession for the majority of the first half and earned eight corner kicks, they could not find the back of the net.
“Our service wasn’t really that good, especially for me,” Blue Devil freshman Zach Mathers said. “We just didn’t have great service, and we couldn’t get the ball in. We couldn’t get an attack going.”
In the regular run of play, Duke created quality looks on offense. In the 30th minute, a shot by sophomore Matt Slotnick appeared to result in a surefire goal, but Presbyterian goalkeeper Tyler Beadle stopped the attempt. Six minutes later, after a scramble in the box, a touch by Eggleston landed just left of the post. The Blue Hose’s best scoring opportunity came with fewer than 20 minutes left in the half, when a shot by sophomore Ignacio Monchetti sailed just a few inches over the goal.
Duke broke the scoring drought in the 57th minute with a little help from Presbyterian. In an attempt to clear the ball, a Blue Hose defender accidentally scored on his team’s own net. With fewer than seven minutes remaining in regulation, sophomore Sean Davis served a corner kick to junior Sebastien Ibeagha, who set up Sauciuc for the Blue Devils’ insurance goal.
Duke found its offensive groove in the second half, edging the Blue Hose 14-2 in second-half shots. The overall shot and corner kick statistics speak to the Blue Devils’ dominance in possession. They won the shot and corner kick battles 23-6 and 12-1, respectively.
“[Presbyterian] kind of packed in the back, so we had a lot of time to develop our attack,” Sauciuc said. “A lot of the time we started in the back with our defenders and made our way through the midfield, and we were able to get a lot of shots off and find a lot of balls. It was nice for us to get a little rhythm out there.”