UNC Greensboro Downs Duke, 2-0
Nov. 21, 2008
DURHAM, N.C.-- UNC Greensboro senior Tebatso Manyama tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Spartans to a 2-0 victory over host Duke University in the first round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship tonight at Koskinen Stadium. The Spartans advance to play Loyola (Md.) in the second round on Nov. 25.
The Blue Devils ran into a red-hot Spartan team tonight at Koskinen Stadium. UNC Greensboro came off a monumental run through the Southern Conference Tournament after capturing the title as the No. 7 seed to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans push their overall record to 9-11-2 and their unbeaten streak to four games, tying the longest such streak of the year. Duke closes out the 2008 season with a 10-8-2 mark, making its 22nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fifth consecutive.
The counter attack proved to be the story of the game tonight as both of UNCG's goals came off of Duke having numbers forward. Nirav Kadam had the opening score for the Spartans off an assist from Manyama. Tim Masters provided the pass for Manyama to ice the victory for UNC Greensboro.
Duke attacked right from the opening whistle, getting a shot off in the opening 30 seconds. The quick pace by both teams continued as they settled into a rhythm. Nearly 20 minutes into the game, the Blue Devils drew a foul about 30 yards from the goal. Senior Mike Grella stepped up and served the ball into the box and found Darrius Barnes open deep inside the box. Barnes ripped a low shot, but UNCG goalie Nate Berry made an outstanding point-blank save to keep the score at zero.
Following the save by Berry, the Spartans cleared the ball out of danger and pushed forward to catch the Blue Devils off balance. Manyama collected the ball on the left flank nearly 30 yards from goal and sent a ball to the back post in the penalty area. All alone at the back post was Kadam who one-timed the shot past Duke goalie Brendan Fitzgerald for the 1-0 lead with 26:19 left to play in the first half.
The counter attack proved to be crucial in the game as it went from potentially being a 1-0 Duke advantage to UNC Greensboro holding the 1-0 lead.
The Spartans continued to pressure Duke all over the field and never allowed the Blue Devils to get into a good rhythm. UNC Greensboro nearly made it 2-0 before halftime as Jokull Elisabetarson rocked the crossbar from 20 yards out.
The 1-0 lead after 45 minutes was not enough for UNCG. Looking for that second goal to ice the victory, the Spartans maintained its high pressure to keep Duke off balance. After a couple of early shots from UNC Greensboro, the Blue Devils responded with a couple of their own.
A Grella shot 10 minutes into the half missed its mark and the Spartans answered right away by attacking against the run of play. Running down the right side, Masters fed the ball to Manyama on the left flank. Manyama was able to get a touch on the ball to beat the defender and slip his shot low into the right side netting for the 2-0 lead.
That second goal proved to be the clincher for the Spartans. Duke pressed in the final 30 minutes, but the UNC Greensboro defense seemed to thwart every Blue Devil attack. The win was the sixth NCAA Tournament win in UNCG Division I history.
Duke held a narrow 14-13 advantage in shots, while the corner kicks were tied at four. Fitzgerald made one save in the game, while Berry had five saves in 90 minutes of action.