DURHAM, N.C. –Heralded Duke University men’s soccer freshman Jeremy Ebobisse tallied a goal in his first official collegiate game to help the Blue Devils to a 1-1 draw with Loyola Marymount in the opening day of the John Rennie Nike Invitational. The game was the season opener for both programs.
Ebobisse was assisted by fellow freshman Cameron Moseley and captain Nick Palodichuk. The rookie out of Bethesda, Md., did well to finish a flick from the head of Moseley on a superb long throw from the senior midfielder.
“In practice we had actually gone over the long throw routine,” Ebobisse said. “[Nick] has an excellent throw-in so we knew that Cameron would be posting up around the near post and someone would have to fall in behind him and just get whatever they could. Normally that’s someone else, but I wanted that ball and I got in the right area and I was lucky to redirect it in goal.”
Duke (0-0-1), with five freshmen in the starting lineup, fell behind early off of a defensive miscue that allowed Sebastian De rada get open enough to find the feet of a wide-open Adrien Perez just inside the penalty box. Perez looked up and calmly put it past Duke rookie goalkeeper Joe Ohaus.
Ohaus finished the game with four saves, including a crucial save late in the first period that kept the Blue Devils within one heading into halftime.
After letting in the early goal, Duke settled down and started to possess the ball better. The Blue Devils’ best look in the opening stanza came from the foot of Moseley as Ebobisse fed the rookie deep into the penalty area. Moseley, in behind the Lions’ defense, tried to touch it in past the near post but lifted it wide of the frame.
Duke controlled the pace of play from the opening whistle of the second half. Less than four minutes in, the Blue Devils earned a throw-in from the left touchline deep in the Lions’ defensive third. The positioning set up perfectly for a Palodichuk throw that led to the equalizer.
“The first half wasn’t the Duke that was playing during preseason,” Ebobisse said. “We picked it up. We showed spirit and in the second half we got that goal and we kept pushing. I think that was the Duke we saw in preseason in that second half.”
The opportunities continued to come for the Blue Devils. Seo-In Kim nearly put Duke ahead three minutes later with a strike after beating his defender down the flank. Moseley got a touch on the rebound, but it skipped wide of the right post.
That trend continued for the remainder of the second half. Overall, Duke outshot LMU 6-2 in the second half and forced its goalkeeper to make three saves. Neither team generated quality chances in the two overtime sessions as they both garnered a point in the tournament standings.
“We weren’t as active [in the first half] in the final third and we lost possession too easy in the build-up and that was the key for us because we did well getting out and breaking the line of midfield, but then we lost the ball as we approached their final third. We’ve got to a better job of that.”
Duke will play Stetson at 2:30 p.m., Sunday. Stetson defeated Elon 3-2 in the tournament opener Friday evening.