DURHAM, N.C.—Ninth-ranked Clemson converted a penalty kick in the 58th minute and held off the No. 11 Blue Devils to score a 1-0 victory in ACC Men’s Soccer Quarterfinal action at Koskinen Stadium Sunday.
Clemson (12-4-1), seeded fifth, advances to the semifinal round against top seed Wake Forest, while No. 4 seed Duke (12-4-2) awaits its NCAA Tournament fate Nov. 13. The selection show will be broadcast on NCAA.com at 1 p.m. The top 16 teams will be seeded and receive first round byes before hosting second round games.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” said head coach John Kerr. “We paid a severe price for that. tactically they did a great job in the second half of creating opportunities knowing were pushing for a goal. They found their second wind because we had them in the first half and didn’t capitalize and they were fortunate to get that penalty shot and score. We have to take care of our chances.”
The Blue Devils were dominant on defense in the first half, smothering the Clemson defense anytime it got into its offensive third. Meanwhile on offense, Duke did well to find open seams in the Tiger defense, but just missed on a couple of chances.
Brian White had the best chances in the opening 45 minutes with the first coming in the opening 10 minutes. He got in behind the defense but his touch was a bit heavy, giving Ximo Miralles an opening to come out and make the stop. White was denied by Miralles and the crossbar later in the period as his header was tipped off the bar to keep the game scoreless.
Duke led 7-0 in the shots category in the first half and Miralles was credited with four saves, while Pulisic was never truly tested.
The Blue Devils continued to press in the second half with sophomore Jack Doran testing Miralles in the first six minutes. The Tigers, having done well to weather the storm, started to get into the game in the early portion of the period, posting its first shot of the afternoon in the 54th minute.
After putting Duke under pressure for a few minutes inside its own defensive third, the Tigers capitalized on a scramble in the penalty area and drew the penalty kick. Senior midfielder Diego Campos stepped up to the spot and knocked it home to the left side for the 1-0 lead.
A resilient team all season, Duke was not done attacking as it went right back to its offense in search of the equalizer. Doran again found himself open on the left side, but was denied again by Miralles. Senior defender Carter Manley got into the mix with a great strike that Miralles parried away for a Duke corner kick. The Clemson goalkeeper finished with seven saves on the day.
Moser had a great look at goal in the waning minutes as Doran’s shot deflected to the flanker inside the box. Moser was unable to cut the angle well enough and sent his shot skipping wide left. Duke’s final effort in the final 30 seconds also came up just short, keeping the Tigers’ hopes of an ACC title alive.
Duke goalkeeper Will Pulisic made one stop in the 90 minutes as Duke held Clemson to just two shots on goal and only eight shots overall.
The NCAA bracket will be revealed Nov. 13 at 1 p.m., on NCAA.com. Duke, slated third in the RPI and sixth in the first committee rankings, will be aiming for a top 16 seed and a first-round bye.