Uploaded Ad
Finley and Wenger Headline All-ACC Teams
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 11/09/2010
article image
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
BDN+ Premium Content
Related Links
DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University sophomores Ryan Finley and Andrew Wenger headlined the Atlantic  Coast Conference All-Conference selections as the 2010 ACC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, the league office announced on Nov. 9. Senior Cole Grossman joined Finley and Wenger on the All-ACC First Team, while sophomore James Belshaw earned second team recognition. Jonathan Aguirre and Sebastien Ibeagha both garnered All-Freshmen Team honors.

Finley and Wenger garnering top offensive and defensive player awards marks the first time the Blue Devils have captured both honors since the league started the categories in 2004. Duke is the second school overall to sweep the two awards with Wake Forest doing so in both 2004 and 2009. Wenger is the first Blue Devil to garner ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, while Finley is the second to take home the ACC's Offensive Player of the Year award after Mike Grella did so in 2008.

Duke's three selections on the first team are the most since 1999 when Ali Curtis, Jeff Haywood and Robbie Russell were chosen by the coaches.

A 2009 ACC All-Freshmen team choice, Finley paces the Blue Devil offense with a nation's best 17 goals and 37 points. He currently is tied with Ali Curtis and Pato Gutierrez for the Duke single-season goals record, while his 37 points are tied for ninth at Duke in a single season. The second-year striker recently set a Duke single-season record, registering three hat tricks in a single season. He netted two-plus goals in five games and posted a career-best seven points with three goals and an assist at Virginia Tech. A native of Lumberton, N.J., Finley leads the team with six game-winning goals and has scored or assisted on 20 of Duke's 32 goals this season. He garnered ACC Player of the Week recognition on Sept. 14 after scoring four goals in two games, including the game-tying score against reigning national champion Virginia. For his career, Finley has 28 goals and eight assists for 64 points.

Wenger captured his second major award in as many seasons after earning the 2009 ACC Freshman of the Year honor. A two-time All-ACC first team selection and a part of the 2010 Hermann Trophy watch list, the center back has anchored the Blue Devil backline all season. He currently leads the team in minutes played with 1,587 and has started every game in his career. A native of Lititz, Pa., Wenger is the first Blue Devil to earn first team recognition from the league in his first two seasons since Jay Heaps in 1995 and 1996. The leader of the defensive unit, he has helped Duke post six shutouts, while allowing just 15 goals. He also provided two assists in 2010 to push his career points total to 15.

Duke's leader in the midfield, Grossman garnered All-ACC first team recognition for the first time after taking home second team honors in 2009.  He currently ranks second on the team in scoring with 24 points off of eight goals and eight assists. A native of St. Louis, Mo., the senior captain tallied an assist and the game-winning goal in Duke's most recent 2-1 victory over Wake Forest and has had a hand in 16 of Duke's 32 goals this year. Grossman was voted to the NSCAA All-South Region second team in 2009 and was tabbed by Soccer America as a preseason All-America choice. He currently has 70 points in his career from 23 goals and 24 assists.

A goalkeeper, Belshaw is the sixth Duke goalie to earn all-conference recognition and the first since Justin Trowbridge in 2004. Starting all 17 games, the native of Nottingham, England has registered four shutouts and sports a 0.76 goals against average and a .835 save percentage. He has made 66 saves this season passing his total as a rookie by 12. Named the ACC Player of the Week on Sept. 7, Belshaw registered a career-high and ACC season-best 15 saves to hold current No. 1 Louisville scoreless. He was awarded the Duke/Nike Classic Most Valuable Player award as well after guiding the Blue Devils to the tournament title.

The duo of Aguirre and Ibeagha represent Duke on the All-Freshmen squad, marking the first time since 2007 that Duke has had two players on the list. The Blue Devils are one of two teams to have at least two players represented on the team.

Aguirre is a leader in the center midfield for the Blue Devils. Starting 15 games and playing the entire game seven times, the rookie from Madison, N.J., has two assists on the year. His first helper came in Duke's crucial 2-2 draw with Virginia, while the second was for the game-winner in overtime against High Point.

A defensive stalwart at center back, Ibeagha has been outstanding for the Blue Devils in his 13 games played. Coming off of an early season injury, Ibeagha has started 13 games overall and gone the distance in eight games this season. Paired with Wenger as a central defender, he has helped Duke post six shutouts this season. Ibeagha is also a threat on the offensive end on set pieces. The native of Houston, Texas tallied his first career point with an assist against Furman.

Duke opens ACC Tournament play on Wednesday, Nov. 10 against Boston College. The Blue Devils earned the No. 4 seed and will battle the No. 5 seed Eagles at 8 p.m., at WakeMed Soccer Park. The winner advances to the semifinals on Nov. 12 at 8 p.m.