DURHAM, N.C. --- The Blue Devils (7-5-1, 2-3-1) ended their 245 minute scoreless streak quickly on Tuesday night and were able to hold the Hokies (8-1-5, 2-0-4) to just one late goal to preserve a 1-1 tie after two overtimes. The result snapped a three-game losing streak for Duke. The game can be seen on-demand on ACCSelect.com.
Less than seven minutes into the match, graduate forward Joshua Medcalf ended the Blue Devils’ offensive troubles. Medcalf made a run on a ball played from midfield by senior forward/midfielder Spencer Wadsworth and beat Hokie goalkeeper Markus Aigner one-on-one from the top of the box. It was Medcalf’s fourth score of the season and Wadsworth’s first point in 2007.
The goal seemed to ignite a fire in the Blue Devils that had been missing for the month of October. Duke outshot Virginia Tech in the first half, 6-2, and held the advantage in corner kicks, 4-2. Playing without their leading point scorer in junior forward Mike Grella, the Devils kept the pressure up offensively on the Hokies and dominated throughout the period.
Duke’s defense also rose to the occasion, especially after losing senior captain Tim Jepson less than two minutes in. Jepson had to leave the match for stitches above his eye after a head-to-head collision.
The second half would be more of the same, as Duke kept on the attack, but were unable to convert on any of its chances. Seven more shots were taken, but the Hokies began to press offensively.
With 18:46 remaining in the game and Duke still in control, Hokie midfielder Scott Spangler threw the ball in from the left side of the field about 35 yards out from the goal. Defender Marcus Reed got a foot on it and played it to midfielder/forward Scott Dillie. Dillie cut to his right and took a soft shot from 10 yards out toward the left corner that was deflected into the left corner of the net and past Duke senior goalkeeper Justin Papadakis and the defense.
Despite two overtimes that featured four Duke shots and two Virginia Tech shots, neither team was able to capitalize and the match ended in a draw.
“It was an unfortunate bounce for us,” said Papadakis of the Hokies’ goal. “We seem to be receiving some unfortunate bounces this season. I thought other than the goal we played very well defensively. I’m not completely happy but there was definitely progress today.”
Papadakis made three saves on the evening. He now holds a 1.12 goals against average and a .727 save percentage in 2007.
For Medcalf, it was his first start of the season, and he has now scored four goals and three assists in only 323 minutes. That averages out to 3.06 points per 90 minutes for the graduate student and Vanderbilt transfer from Tulsa, Okla.
Wadsworth moved into a three-way tie with Videira and former Blue Devil standout Clint Carnell for career assists at Duke. The trio stands in sixth on the list with 34. The all-time leader is Tom Kain, who accumulated 45 assists from 1982 through 1985, and claimed national player of the year honors in 1985.
With the tie, Duke continues its longest winless streak since they went nine consecutive games in 2003 without a victory. Virginia Tech increases its program-best unbeaten streak to 13 games.
The Blue Devils outshot their opponents for the 10th time in 13 games this season, holding a 17-10 advantage over the Hokies. Duke has outshot the opposition this season 239-124, and holds a shots on goal advantage of 98-59. Senior midfielder and captain Michael Videira led Duke with four shots in the match.
John Rennie’s record as a collegiate coach is now 450-203-50 in 35 years. Rennie is in fifth place all-time among NCAA Division I coaches for wins and in third place among active coaches for career wins. With his 406 victories at Duke and 93 in ACC play, Rennie has the most wins of any coach in ACC history. He won Duke’s first national championship in any sport in 1986. This will be Rennie’s final season as Duke’s head coach, a decision made prior to the 2007 season.
Jepson was named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which is presented annually in eight NCAA Division I sports to a senior student athlete who excels both on and off the field. Jepson started every game in his first three years at Duke, is a two-time captain, a three-time All-ACC Academic selection and an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team member. Fans can vote once a day per computer online until Nov. 21 at http://soccer.seniorclassaward.com/public/men/vote.aspx. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the award. Winners will be announced during the NCAA Championships, scheduled December 14-16 in Cary, N.C.
Duke visits No. 10 Virginia on Friday at 7 p.m. That match will be available live and on-demand on ACCSelect.com. It will mark the end of the Blue Devils’ stretch of four matches against top-10 teams in 22 days. Duke also began a challenging run on Friday night that involves five games in 13 days. The Blue Devils return home on Sunday to face Cleveland State in a non-conference matchup at 7 p.m. Admission to all regular season men’s soccer games in Koskinen Stadium is free of charge.