CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. --- Forwards Joshua Medcalf and Mike Grella both scored critical goals on Friday night and No. 23 Duke pulled out a 2-1 come-from-behind win at No. 10 Virginia. The Blue Devils snapped a four-game winless streak with the victory, which marked the end of the Blue Devils’ stretch of four matches against top-10 teams in 22 days. The game can be seen on-demand on ACCSelect.com.
Medcalf’s goal came with just 1:52 remaining in the match, with Duke trailing, 1-0. After Virginia cleared a Blue Devil throw-in, freshman midfielder Cole Grossman passed the ball to junior defender Darrius Barnes on the left side of the field. Barnes switched over to his right-foot and played a ball into the box that Medcalf headed into the middle of the net. It was the third straight Duke goal scored by Medcalf and the fifth overall this season.
The game would go to overtime, where both squads frantically attempted to find paydirt and win the match. The answer came for Duke with just 1:58 left in the second extra period. Senior midfielder Zack Pope chased down a long ball on the right side of the field and played a long cross in to Grella, who brought the ball down and chipped it over Virginia goalkeeper Michael Giallombardo and into the net on the far post. The sudden-death goal was Grella’s fifth game-winner and eighth goal overall on the year, both of which lead Duke.
The Cavaliers’ score was tallied 6:38 into the second half when Chris Tierney took a free kick that Matt Mitchell one-timed past Duke goalkeeper and senior Justin Papadakis.
It marked the first comeback win of 2007 for the Blue Devils, who were previously 0-5 when giving up the first goal this season.
Papadakis made six saves on the evening. He now holds a 1.10 goals against average and a .742 save percentage on the season. The Blue Devils’ defense was strong once again, holding its opponent to one goal or less for the 11th time this year.
Medcalf has now scored five goals and three assists in only 385 minutes. That averages out to 3.04 points-per-90 minutes for the graduate student and Vanderbilt transfer from Tulsa, Okla.
The Blue Devils outshot their opponent for the 11th time in 14 games this season, holding an 18-11 advantage over the ‘Hoos. Duke has outshot the opposition this season 257-135, and holds a shots on goal advantage of 106-66. Grella led Duke with six shots in the match.
With the win, Duke improved to 8-5-1 and 3-3-1 in the ACC this year. It also improved to 3-3-1 against ranked foes. Virginia fell to 9-4-2 record this season overall and 1-3-2 in the ACC. The Cavaliers are 0-3-1 against ranked opponents in 2007.
Duke now only trails Virginia, 36-34-7, in their all-time series. Virginia has won seven of the last 11 meetings with Duke, but the Blue Devils have taken three of the last four.
John Rennie’s record as a collegiate coach is now 451-203-50 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 407 victories at Duke and 94 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.
Senior defender and captain Tim 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. 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 began a challenging run on Oct. 19 that involves six games in 17 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. Duke then hits the road again to take on Davidson on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m.