After a 3-1 win in its season opener Friday night, 90 minutes were not enough to determine Duke’s fate Sunday against Vermont.

But the Blue Devils ensured they would not need much longer in the afternoon sun to secure their third straight John Rennie Nike Invitational title.

Junior Daniele Proch scored his third goal of the weekend less than two minutes into extra time to lead No. 10 Duke past Vermont 3-2 at Koskinen Stadium after two late scores fueled the Blue Devils’ season-opening victory against No. 20 Florida International. Proch was named the tournament MVP and capped Sunday’s game with a rebound goal after freshman Seth Kuhn forced Catamount goalkeeper Clay Thomas to make a diving save.

“We went through a couple lulls of inactivity late in the second half, and they were first to every ball, and they took it to us and they had the momentum, especially when they tied up the game,” Duke head coach John Kerr said. “We regrouped right before the overtime started and we weren’t going to die easily, so we decided to fight.”

The Blue Devils (2-0) pressured Vermont’s back line from the start of the match, as Thomas had to make saves on dangerous headers by McKenna and Proch in the first 12 minutes. But the Blue Devils earned yet another penalty kick after freshman Issa Rayyan was taken down from behind in the box, and Proch buried his shot into the left side of the net.

“A guy like Issa, he’s so darn fast he’s hard to track, and you think you have him and all of a sudden, he’s past you,” Kerr said. “We’re trying to get into dangerous areas and getting into the box always creates havoc, and that’s what we’re trying to do when we’re getting to that final third.”

The Catamounts (1-1) started to settle in midway through the first half and pressed forward to generate several chances immediately after the break. Geo Alves controlled a long ball with his chest and fired a shot over the crossbar a few minutes into the second half, and Freitas dribbled the ball back down the left side of the field a moment later before sending his shot wide of the far post.

On Vermont’s next threat, Freitas had a clean look at the goal from inside the box but took a shot directly at goalkeeper Will Pulisic, who parried the ball away from danger.

The Catamounts kept the game within reach with a point-blank save by Thomas off a shot by graduate transfer Kevin Feucht, and they finally found the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1 in the 69th minute when Alves received a pass from Freitas at the right of the box and lifted a shot past Pulisic to the far post.

“We were not aggressive enough to put the game away early in the game, because in the first half we were definitely dominating,” Proch said. “We were not decisive enough to score the second goal, and we got punished.”

Vermont nearly pulled in front with less than 20 minutes left on a low shot by Jon Bryant that slid inches wide of the post, and Duke soon drew a foul in its attacking half that led to its next breakthrough. The Blue Devils’ free kick sailed into the box, and after a brief scramble in front of the net, the ball wound up in front of Feucht, who volleyed it into the net for his first goal in a Duke uniform after a torn ACL at UC Santa Barbara sidelined him for the entire 2017 season.

“He’s a quality player and he makes quality decisions. He’s not firing on all cylinders yet,” Kerr said. “He’s still recovering from a whole year not playing, so he needs more game time, but he showed his class on that finish and that was a big goal for us.”

The Catamounts responded with less than seven minutes left to draw even at 2-2 after freshman center back Aedan Stanley whiffed on a chance to clear it for Duke, giving Alves a clean chance to fire a shot out of Pulisic’s reach for his second goal of the day. 

“It’s a learning process. When you have a practically all-new back line, it’s hard to be coordinated all at the same time so early in the season, so we’re still working on a number of things, and overall they performed very well,” Kerr said. “As expected, you’re going to make mistakes now and again, and sometimes they’re going to be costly, but we’ve got to learn from them quickly.”

Vermont made a point-blank save off a shot by Rayyan in the closing minutes of regulation to preserve the tie and set up the Blue Devils’ overtime heroics.

The tournament opener Friday night started out slow offensively on both sides, but Duke broke through for its first score of the season just before halftime when junior Suniel Veerakone drew a foul in the box and senior Ciaran McKenna converted the penalty kick.

The pace and physicality picked up after the break, as the Panthers (0-2) equalized in the 53rd minute on a header by Nick O’Callaghan after a flurry of chances. The next 20 minutes were marked by frustration for the Blue Devils, who drew two more fouls in the box but didn’t score, with Feucht missing the net wide left from the penalty spot and Proch sending his penalty shot over the crossbar. Kerr said Sunday he had not decided on a regular penalty-kick taker.

“As a penalty taker, you score most and you miss a few. That’s fine. The most important thing is just take the ball and get the next PK, because one PK miss doesn’t mean anything,” Proch said. “You just have to pick your head up and score the next one.”

Florida International committed 15 fouls in the game and was handed a red card just before Proch’s miss, and it didn’t take long for Duke to capitalize on the man advantage. Sophomore Matthias Frick gave the Blue Devils the lead with a header off a corner kick in the 77th minute, and Proch put the nail in the coffin three minutes later off an assist from Brandon Williamson.

Williamson, Frick and Rayyan joined Proch on the all-tournament team for Duke.

The Blue Devils will make a cross-country trip to the West Coast next week to face San Diego late Friday night for their first regular-season action away from Koskinen.