Oct. 3, 2009

Courtesy of GoDuke.com

DURHAM, N.C. - The 14th-ranked Duke men's soccer team tallied a pair of second-half goals to upset the second-ranked and defending national champion Maryland Terrapins in front of 1,902 fans at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils remain perfect at home with a 6-0-0 mark this season.

Freshman Ryan Finley tallied what proved to be the game-winner, while senior Trae Harrison clinched the victory with his first career goal. "This win is pretty high up there [for me]," Harrison said. "It's got to be top five and probably top three. Being that this may be the last time we may play Maryland it was great to secure the win at home. We really needed this win. Everybody was there supporting everyone 100 percent and it's good to get a great win like this."

"It's a huge win for us in beating the defending national champions," head coach John Kerr said. "We played an excellent game tonight. The second half we were phenomenal. The defense and [Duke goalkeeper James] Belshaw were terrific and we did a great job hitting on the counterattack."

Neither team created outstanding scoring opportunities in the opening 45 minutes. Duke (7-2-0, 2-2-0 ACC) created the best chance of the first half when Nick Sih flighted a perfect ball over the heads of the Maryland (5-2-2, 2-2-0 ACC) defense. Finley got in behind the backline and ran straight to goal, but a pair of Maryland defenders put just enough pressure on the Duke forward to slow him down and help Zac MacMath make his third save of the opening half.

Both squads pressed forward in the waning minutes of the first stanza, but were unable to connect as they headed into the locker room knotted at zero.

Much like it had done all season, Duke came out strong in the second half. Following a big save by Blue Devil keeper James Belshaw, Duke mounted a counterattack. Christopher Tweed-Kent won the ball just past midfield and slipped a through ball to a streaking Finley. MacMath came off his line to clear the ball under pressure from Finley. The rookie forward put just enough pressure on the Terrapin goalie and blocked the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute.

Sensing a need to get on the scoreboard and regain some momentum, Maryland pressed forward and put Duke on its heels. The Blue Devils dug in and weathered the storm over the next 15 minutes. That span included numerous free kicks from within 25 yards and three corner kicks.

"We talked about at halftime that Maryland is a team that never stops and they keep coming at you," Kerr said. "The big thing for us was to win those headers and those second balls that drop down and I thought we did a great job of that in the second half."

Defensively, Duke was outstanding in the air and was able to often clear the ball out of danger without Maryland getting a good look at goal. After battling their way through those 15 minutes, the Blue Devils started to attack again and were able to find space on the wings. In the 74th minute, Duke nearly took a 2-0 lead when Christian Ibeagha's header from a corner kick was tipped by MacMath into the crossbar. One minute later, sophomore Temi Molinar used his speed to beat a Maryland defender down the right side and forced MacMath to come up with another big save.

Winning a corner kick from Molinar's shot, junior Cole Grossman served the ball into the box where Harrison just put it over the crossbar.

A little over two minutes later, Duke earned another chance with a corner kick from Grossman. This time he flighted the ball to the back post where Harrison was open. He went up and won the aerial battle and headed the ball home for his first career goal and a 2-0 lead with 11:08 left to play.

"They actually left me open on the corner," Harrison said. "I was really feeling that play. I knew it was going to come and I stuck with it all the way through and got a head on it."

Duke held off a charging Terrapin squad in those final 10 minutes to post its fourth shutout of the season.

Maryland held a 16-11 shot advantage for the game and had nine corner kicks to Duke's four.

In goal, Belshaw was outstanding with five saves, including two important stops in the opening minutes of the second half. MacMath also finished with five in the 90 minutes of action.

Duke hits the road next to take on Davidson College on Oct. 6. The Blue Devils and Wildcats square off at 7 p.m.