DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University junior Sean Davis netted a free kick goal in the 74th minute to help the Blue Devils to a 1-1 tie with visiting North Carolina State in ACC men’s soccer action this evening. Duke played its sixth overall overtime game of the year and remains unbeaten in extra sessions this season.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said head coach John Kerr. “They came out and dominated the first half and were excellent and deserved their goal. We were poor, but I thought in the second half we stepped up and took over and really dominated the second half.”
Duke (4-4-5, 0-3-4) fell behind in the 13th minute on an own goal. Travis Wannemuehler broke loose down the right flank and got to the endline. The freshman forward slotted the ball back across the goal where a retreating Sebastien Ibeagha accidentally touched it past Duke goalie Alex Long for a 1-0 Wolfpack lead.
NC State (4-3-4, 1-3-3) controlled the run of play for much of the first half as the Blue Devils struggled to get into an offensive rhythm. Duke did well defensively to fend off the Wolfpack’s pressure, including eight corner kicks, to head into the locker room trailing 1-0.
Undefeated when trailing at the half, Duke looked like a different squad to start the second period. The Blue Devils committed to pressing forward and dominated much of the action throughout the stanza.
With Duke seemingly on the verge of scoring after a couple of great looks from Sean Davis and Luis Rendon were saved by NC State keeper Fabian Otte in the early minutes. The Blue Devils’ intensity finally paid off in the 74th minute as a Duke player was dragged down 25 yards from goal. Davis, Duke’s free kick specialist, stepped behind the ball and struck a bending shot around the wall and past Otte for the equalizer.
“I was about 25 yards and I feel pretty comfortable taking them from that distance,” said Davis. “I knew it was a good opportunity for us to score and I took full advantage of it. I was just so thankful I could help my team. Any way I can help them out I try to do so.”
The tally was Davis’ third of the year and second on a free kick from outside the box.
“[Sean Davis] was unbelievable again tonight,” Kerr said. “He’s taking the initiative, he’s taking responsibility. He’s doing both sides of the ball. We couldn’t be happier with him. He’s a great captain and a great kid.”
The goal injected an extra level of intensity into the Blue Devils for the final 17 minutes of action. Duke, battling for the win, continued to push the pace and in the 80th minute freshman Brody Huitema nearly made it happen. The rookie striker took a quick outlet from Long and beat the Wolfpack center back, but Otte was able to get just a fingertip on it to force overtime.
In the sixth overtime of the season and third straight, Duke dominated the first 10 minutes. Ibeagha had a shot just miss getting inside the near post and Otte came up big again on a save off of a Tyler McDaniel shot to force double overtime.
NC State came out in the 100th minute and put a few scares into Duke right off the bat. Holden Fender almost came up with the golden goal as his shot from the right side skipped wide.
After weathering a five-minute storm from the Wolfpack, Duke responded in identical fashion in NC State’s defensive third.
Davis had two more shots go wide, including one that hit off of a teammate, while Palodichuk had a chance blocked to end the game in a 1-1 draw.
Overall, the Blue Devils held an 18-12 advantage in shots, while NC State had 10 corner’s to Duke’s eight. Long and Otte both finished with four saves apiece.
“We’re a resilient bunch and we work hard for each other,” Kerr said. “I want them to get what they deserve from all the good play when they go forward. We’re nearly there.”
The Blue Devils get a well-deserved rest and will not play again until Oct. 18 at Boston College. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.