DURHAM, N.C.-UC Santa Barbara sophomore Dom Sarle scored with 1:39 remaining in the first overtime to lift the ninth-ranked Gauchos to a 3-2 victory over Duke University in the Duke/Nike Soccer Classic. The Blue Devils forced overtime with 3:39 remaining in regulation, getting a goal from junior Andrew Wenger.
"I thought we played well tonight and were a little unlucky to not come away with the win," head coach John Kerr said. "We have a young group of guys so seeing the way they fought back is a very encouraging sign for the future. Now we have to regroup and get ready for a tough game against SMU on Sunday."
The game started off with a bang as both squads scored in the first six minutes. Duke (1-2-0) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Senior forward Christopher Tweed-Kent collected the ball after the kickoff and sliced his way down the left side of the field. He weaved through a few UCSB defenders and slotted ball across the face of the goal where freshman Nick Palodichuk was waiting wide open. Palodichuk calmly put the ball away to give Duke the 1-0 lead just 48 seconds into the game.
After recovering from the shock of giving up a goal in the first minute of action, the Gauchos evened the score five minutes later. Junior forward Sam Garza got loose in their offensive third of the field and was able to create just enough of an opening to fire a left-footed strike past Belshaw and into the top shelf from 12 yards out.
With the game even at one, the two teams settled down into a rhythm. Duke controlled much of the run of play in the first 45 minutes, but was unable to connect in the final third. UCSB had a small flurry of action in the waning minutes of the opening period. However, Duke's stingy defense and the goalkeeping of junior James Belshaw kept the Gauchos off the board and the two teams headed to the locker rooms tied, 1-1.
The second half was an equally tough battle. The Blue Devils had the better of possession, firing 13 shots to the Gauchos' four in the second half. Rookie midfielder Andrew Morales had a rocket off of his right foot midway through the frame that UCSB goalkeeper Andre Grandt was able to get a finger on.
Palodichuk also had an excellent strike on a free kick, but Grandt again got his hand on it to push it wide of the goal. Grandt finished with six saves in the second half and seven for the game.
Despite Duke's scoring opportunities, the Gauchos took the lead on a penalty kick from Luis Silva in the 80th minute.
The Blue Devils, realizing time was starting to wind down, took advantage of a free kick about 40 yards from goal. Duke pushed numbers into the box and Morales served a ball into the fray. Freshman defender Nat Eggleston got a touch on it and the ball fell near Wenger's feet. The native of Lititz, Pa., put away the loose ball and tied the game. The goal was Wenger's third of the year and forced overtime.
Duke held the early possession in overtime and created a couple of dangerous looks in the penalty area. However, a quick counter attack from UCSB and a small defensive lapse by Duke allowed Sarle to get a one-on-one with Belshaw. Sarle calmly slipped it under the Duke goalkeeper for the win with 99 second left in the first overtime.
For the game, Duke held a 19-15 advantage in shots and a 10-2 edge in corner kicks. Belshaw had four saves in the game.
The Blue Devils return to action on Sunday, hosting No. 17 SMU in the final game of the Duke/Nike Classic at 2:30 p.m.