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Duke men's soccer falls to Clemson, third straight loss

Daniele Proch scored Duke's only goal Friday.
Daniele Proch scored Duke's only goal Friday.

The Blue Devils went south for their first away game, and so did their record. 

No. 15 Duke notched its third straight loss Friday night, as No. 7 Clemson defeated the Blue Devils 3-1 at Historic Riggs Field in Clemson, S.C. This comes after the team’s previous two losses against SMU and Virginia, pushing the Blue Devils further down in the ACC ranks. 

Duke last went head-to-head with the Tigers in 2017, losing 1-0. Though suffering the same fate this match, the Blue Devils played with a vengeance at the end of the second half that let their opponent know they would not go down as easily. 

With Clemson’s higher ranking than Duke and home turf advantage, the odds were stacked against the Blue Devils. Duke struggled in changing the pace of the game from defensive to offensive, with the game largely taking place on their side of the field. 

While the Blue Devils (4-3, 0-2 in the ACC) were successful in scoring one goal against the Tigers, Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) powered through in shutting Duke out from making any other attempts at taking the lead. The Blue Devils finished the game with only two shots on goal compared to the Tigers’ 14 shots on goal. Clemson’s aggressive offensive presence has been consistent throughout the season, averaging 4.7 goals per game. 

Duke will need to match this energy in order to reclaim their spot as a top team in the ACC. 

Three statistics that matter

1. Pulisic’s 10 saves: 

Will Pulisic proved his place as a top goalie in the ACC with multiple saves, lessening the severity of the Blue Devil defeat. In the first half, Pulisic had six saves with only one successful shot against him. By the end of the game, Pulisic saved a total of 10 shots, with two getting by him in the second half. 

2. Proch’s pair of shots:

Daniele Proch helped bolster Duke’s offensive presence in the second half, with Duke’s first shot on goal coming 52 minutes into the game. Though the first shot was saved by Clemson goalie George Marks, Proch was resilient in his urge to score. Proch’s second shot on goal came 85 minutes into the game and was a success, showing that the Blue Devils were not ready to give up. Proch was assisted by Stephen O’Connell and Matthias Frick on his sixth goal of the season. 

3. 29 fouls and two red cards:

The game’s high intensity meant player aggression was commonplace—Duke finishing with 13 fouls and Clemson finishing with 16 fouls. Duke’s Ian Murphy and Clemson’s Grayson Barber were given red cards for violent behavior on the field 64 minutes into the game. 

The Blue Devils will have one week to recover and improve until they play rival No. 11 North Carolina Sept. 27. This will be Duke’s third ACC game and its next opportunity to earn a win in the challenging conference. 

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