PITTSBURGH, Pa. –The Duke University men’s soccer team stretched its unbeaten streak to seven with a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh in ACC action this evening at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The Blue Devils scored three first-half goals en route to the crucial victory over the Panthers.
Duke improves to 7-4-6 overall and 2-3-5 in the ACC and moves into seventh place in the ACC standings with 11 points. Pittsburgh falls to 0-10-4 overall and 0-8-2 in conference action.
“I’m really pleased with how we started the game,” head coach John Kerr said. “We came out sharp and I think even could have had a couple of other goals. They played with great intensity and focus and it was nice to get those early goals.”
The Blue Devils, in search of a crucial ACC win, jumped all over Pittsburgh and controlled the run of play from the opening whistle. Firing four shots and earning three corner kicks in the opening 10 minutes, Duke finally broke through with a penalty kick from junior Sean Davis to make it 1-0. The goal was his sixth of the season and third penalty kick of the year.
Just 12 minutes later it was 3-0 as the Blue Devils tallied goals six minutes apart to match their first half total from the previous 16 games. Palodichuk gave Duke the 2-0 cushion in the 23rd minute as a Zach Mathers corner kick found its way to the back post where he touched it in past the right post.
Senior Tyler McDaniel got in the mix in the 29th minute with his second career tally. The veteran midfielder collected a pass from Palodichuk and beat Dan Lynd high for the 3-0 advantage with 16 left in the opening 45 minutes.
Duke dominated action throughout the first half, outshooting Pittsburgh 12-1 and earning eight corner kicks.
Despite having a comfortable lead, Duke did not let up on the pressure as it came out attacking in the second half with three shots in the opening 15 minutes. Duke registered shots in the second half with four of those coming on goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net for the fourth.
As Pittsburgh gained some momentum in the second period, the Blue Devils stalwart backline remained steady to earn its seventh clean sheet of the season. Alex Long finished with four saves on the night to secure his 14th career shutout. His seven this season match his total the previous two seasons as the starter at South Carolina.
Overall, Duke held an 18-7 advantage in shots and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks. The Blue Devils close out the regular season schedule Nov. 8 at No. 19 Clemson. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.