WILMINGTON, N.C. - No. 7 Duke (6-2-0, 1-0-0) finally found the offensive results it was looking for, and this time it was not just in the shot department. The Blue Devils scored four second-half goals and won their first road contest over the season over UNC Wilmington (1-5-1), 5-0.
Junior forward Mike Grella tallied the game’s first goal in the 10th minute. Grella received the ball at the top of the 18-yard line, cut back to the middle of the field and fired it past the Seahawks’ freshman goalkeeper Brock Duckworth. It was the only goal of the half as Duke outshot UNC Wilmington, 6-3.
Senior forward Paul Dudley broke through twice early in the second half to open up a 3-0 lead for the Blue Devils. In the 51st minute, senior midfielder Tomek Charowski beat a Seahawk defender to the goal-line and fed Dudley in the middle where he finished for his fifth goal of the season. With 27:19 remaining in the game, junior defender Darrius Barnes put a long throw-in into the box that Dudley headed past Duckworth.
Duke was not yet done scoring, as graduate student and forward Joshua Medcalf made it 4-0 with his second goal of the season. Freshman forward Nick Sih was credited with his first career assist as he dished the ball to Medcalf who hit a strong shot from 10 yards out with four minutes left in the contest.
The final score of 5-0 would be attained when junior midfielder Brad Ramsey tallied his first score of the season with eight seconds remaining. Ramsey dribbled from the left side toward the top of the 18-yard line and blasted the ball to the inside right corner.
Senior goalkeeper Justin Papadakis picked up his third shutout of the season with three saves and now boasts a 0.50 goals against average and a .833 save percentage. He and the Duke defense together have only allowed four goals in 724:28 of play and have not allowed more than one goal in any game this season.
Once again the Blue Devils were without senior defender and captain Tim Jepson, who has been out will a muscle pull injury in all eight of the Blue Devils’ games this season. Jepson will look to make his return against Clemson on Friday. Freshmen Christian Ibeagha (seven starts and 625 minutes) and Doug Ferner (168 minutes played in six games) have picked up the slack in Jepson’s absence. Ibeagha was rested Tuesday night after logging the third-most minutes on the team through the first seven games.
Also held out with an injury for the second consecutive match was senior midfielder Michael Videira. Playing in his stead have been senior forward/midfielder Spencer Wadsworth and freshman midfielder Cole Grossman. Videira also looks to return against Clemson.
“Our depth was a big factor in this game,” said head coach John Rennie. “We really wore them down in the second half and were able to spread their defense out. UNC Wilmington played a high pressure game, but we kept attacking and it paid off in the second half with our four goals.
As with every game this season, the Blue Devils outshot their opponent, this time 12-6. Duke has now outshot the opposition this season 175-65, and holds a shots-on-goal advantage of 69-27. The Blue Devils put all five of their shots on goal into the net, leaving Duckworth with no saves on the evening.
Duke is now 12-5-1 all-time against UNC Wilmington and has won nine of the last 10 contests between the two squads.
Rennie’s record as a collegiate coach improved to 449-201-48 in 35 years. He picked up his 92nd ACC victory on Saturday against Maryland, which is the league record. Rennie is in fifth place all-time among NCAA Division I coaches for wins and in third place among active coaches for career wins. This will be his final season as Duke’s head coach, a decision made prior to the 2007 season.
Duke will hit the road again to take on ACC foe Clemson on Friday at 8 p.m. in a match that will be televised on the Fox Soccer Channel. The Blue Devils then return home to play No. 6 Boston College on Fri., Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.