CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Duke scored on a pair of set pieces in the first half and defended with fury over 90 minutes to score a 2-0 win over 10th-ranked Virginia in ACC men’s soccer Klöckner Stadium Friday night. The win for the Blue Devils is the first at Klöckner Stadium since 2009.
Duke improves to 6-3-1 overall and 2-1-0 in ACC play and hands Virginia (6-1-2, 2-1-1) its first loss of the season. It also marks the first time the Cavaliers have allowed multiple goals in a game.
“It’s a massive win,” said head coach John Kerr. “Tonight we wanted to get an ACC win away from home. They are a high RPI team and it’s good for our resume down the road. We played really good soccer and we did a great job once we won the ball.”
Duke got off to a quick start, scoring a pair of goals in the first 18 minutes for a 2-0 lead. The two tallies matched the number Virginia had given up in the eight games prior. Both goals were results of a foul committed against rookie speedster Issa Rayyan.
Junior Daniele Proch, getting the ball deep in the Blue Devil offensive third, found the perfect seam behind the Cavalier defense for a through ball to Rayyan. The rookie midfielder took a great first touch and forced keeper Colin Shutler into the foul inside the penalty area.
Proch calmly stepped up to the spot and made Shutler guess wrong to give him his ninth goal of the year and Duke’s first of the night in the fourth minute.
As Virginia started to get into the game a bit, Duke did well to absorb the pressure and not allow any dangerous looks at goal.
Meanwhile, Rayyan continued his trend of giving opposing left backs nightmares as he beat his man down the right side and drew another foul 22 yards from box.
Set up on the right corner of the 18-yard box, Max Moser whipped a perfect ball to the back post where outside back Matthias Frick headed it home for the 2-0 lead. The goal was Frick’s second of the year and marked the first time all season Virginia has given up two goals in a game.
“I thought Matthias was the player of the game today,” Kerr said. “He won a lot of head balls and clearances and he covered well. He made some really timely interceptions to win the ball for us. He was excellent.”
Duke, coming out of the locker room with a 2-0 lead, nearly made it three as Proch put a header on frame, but right at Shutler.
The Cavaliers dominated time of possession in the final 35 minutes of the half, but Duke’s defense remained well organized and tough. The best chance of the night for Virginia came in the 71st minute off the foot of Irakoze Donasiyano. Open 20 yards from goal, he rifled a shot on frame that sophomore keeper Will Pulisic did well to send over the bar for a corner kick, which Duke handled with ease.
Five minutes later, Daniel Steedman had an open look at goal from the top of the 18, but Pulisic was able to corral it with ease for his fourth save of the night.
A desperate Virginia squad pushed eight and nine forward in the closing minutes in an effort to break down Duke’s defense, but never found the answer as the Blue Devils defended well in all thirds of the field.
Virginia held a 9-5 advantage in shots and a 6-1 edge in corner kicks. The shutout for Pulisic and Duke was the second of the year and the second straight against the Cavaliers.