After 254 consecutive minutes without a goal, the Blue Devils needed someone to step up and make a play.
No one expected that contribution to come from the guy making his first career start.
Freshman Ian Murphy took advantage of his opportunity and buried two goals in the second half of No. 9 Duke’s 3-2 home victory against Boston College Friday evening at Koskinen Stadium. The win snapped the Blue Devils’ two game losing skid and saw Duke's first goals since it took down San Diego 4-1 Aug. 31.
“They bring energy for sure,” Blue Devil head coach John Kerr said of the freshmen, “as well as a brightness and excitement that really helped us tonight.”
Five Duke freshmen saw the field against the Eagles. In addition to Murphy, Issa Rayyan tallied an assist and pushed the ball up the field throughout the game. Rookie center back Aedan Stanley, anchored the defense and his classmates Seth Kuhn and Connor Kelly were the first subs off the bench.
The Blue Devils (4-2-0, 1-1-0 in the ACC) came firing out of the gate, aiming to secure that first goal. Rayyan created some space in the 27th minute, but his shot caromed off the inner post. Duke outshot Boston College 25-15 overall in the contest, but the Blue Devils couldn’t break through until the second half, when Murphy put in a beautiful cross from sophomore midfielder Kristofer Gardarsson to give Duke a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute.
“We know that we’re capable, and obviously we scored three goals but it should’ve been a lot more,” Kerr said. “It’s an exciting prospect for us because we believe when we get going, we can score a lot more.”
Boston College (2-2-3, 1-2-0) tied the game in the 69th minute when Eagles midfielder Beto Luna slipped past the Duke defense and found the back of the net. It wouldn’t stand for long, however, as four minutes later Murphy tallied his second of the night on the feed from junior Daniele Proch.
“It was all in the moment," Murphy said of his first career goals. "Just so ecstatic.”
The rookie defender even found a way to break out a signature celebration with his teammates that he hopes to carry on throughout his Duke career. And when Murphy was asked if he was nervous about his first career start, he said his teammates helped him get ready and stay composed.
“My teammates told me not to be nervous," Murphy said. "Once it starts it’s just another game.”
Proch also finally broke his scoreless drought after being one of the top scorers in the country through the Blue Devils' first few games of the season. Duke’s leading goal scorer notched his sixth goal of 2018 in the 77th minute, putting in a header from a Rayyan cross, which gave the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead and essentially sealed the victory.
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Duke's next matchup will be another home game when it hosts George Washington Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils will look to build on this momentum after falling from second to ninth in the polls over a two week span.