DURHAM, N.C.—Duke junior striker Daniele Proch continued his torrid scoring pace, netting a goal in the 61st minute to lead the 17th-ranked Blue Devils to a crucial 3-2 ACC victory over No. 9 Notre Dame this evening at Koskinen Stadium. The win is the fourth straight for the Blue Devils.
Duke, coming off of 2-0 win over No. 10 Virginia the previous week, earned its second top-10 victory to improve to 8-3-1 overall and 3-2-0 in ACC action. Notre Dame falls to 7-4-1 and 3-2-0 in league play.
It was an action-packed first half with both teams trading goals to head into the break all square 2-2. The Blue Devils opened the scoring in the eighth minute as Wright put away a shot just inside the penalty box. Proch provided the assist, using great vision to simply draw his defender away before tapping the ball back to Wright running through the box.
The Fighting Irish answered just over seven minutes later when Notre Dame leading scorer Patrick Berneski headed home a corner kick at the back post. They took the 2-1 lead in the 24th minute with a Sean McLeod shot through traffic.
The Blue Devils really started to control possession in the final 15 minutes of the half and created some quality looks in the offensive third. Brandon Williamson nearly equalized in the 41st minute with a strike from distance that gave Irish keeper Ryan Krutz fits and earned Duke a corner kick.
Duke broke through in the 42nd minute, winning a free kick from the right side of the 18-yard box. Kristofer Gardarsson stepped up and swung the ball to the far post where Frick got a body on the ball just enough to have it cross the goal line according to the assistant referee. The call went under replay, but the call stood and Duke headed into the break tied 2-2.
The Blue Devils kept their foot on the gas in the second half and arguably played their best soccer of the season as they dominated the run of play against the Irish. After creating a host of opportunities in the early going, Duke connected in the 61st minute with a textbook play and ultimate finish from Proch.
Gardarsson collected the ball on the right flank and, like he had done all game, swung a perfect service to the far post where Ian Murphy made the smart play of playing it back across the goal for Proch who didn’t miss his chance for his 11th goal of the year.
Duke continued to press forward and Proch nearly made it 4-2 with a header that hit the post off of a corner kick.
Notre Dame, struggling to get possession, nearly equalized in the 79th minute, but a fabulous tip save over the crossbar from Will Pulisic kept Duke in front. Pulisic easily corralled the ensuing corner kick and Duke closed out the final 10 minutes for win No. 8 of the year. The sophomore keeper finished with two saves, while Krutz had nine stops.
Duke outshot the Irish 17-9 and had a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.