DURHAM, N.C.—A pair of corner kicks late in the second half proved to be all the Duke men’s soccer team needed as the Blue Devils rallied to earn a 2-1 non-conference win over Wright State this evening at Koskinen Stadium. Duke scored in the 69th and 80th minutes to secure the comeback win.
“We found ourselves in the hole to start the game,” said head coach John Kerr. “Wright State was very impressive. They were very good going forward, very stalwart in the back and really stepped up their game against us. They used the ball well and caused us fits.”
Wright State (1-4-1) got off to a fast start against the Blue Devils with the better of play in the early going. Just over 10 minutes in, Derek Ziunga served a long through ball past the Duke defense to Brett Elder. The sophomore forward ran onto the ball in the right side of the penalty box where he was able to slot his shot past Alex Long for the 1-0 advantage.
The Raiders continued to play well, maintaining possession and keeping the Blue Devils at bay. Duke, getting into a better offensive rhythm late in the first half, created a few scoring opportunities in the final 15 minutes, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Duke carried the momentum from the end of the first half into the second half and dominated the action from the opening whistle. With the Blue Devils right on the doorstep, it was just a matter of time until they netted the equalizer.
After six corner kicks through the opening 20 minutes, Duke capitalized on the seventh as Kim drove the ball into the box for Huitema to head home. It was the rookie forward’s fourth goal in three games and the third that was assisted by Kim.
Wright State refused to go away and created havoc in the Blue Devils’ defensive third five minutes later. The Raiders earned five corner kicks in a span of five minutes, but Duke blocked two shots and Long made a big save on another to keep the game even at 1-1.
The Blue Devils, having weathered the storm, struck again in the 80th minute with an Ibeagha header on Davis’ corner kick. The goal was Ibeagha’s second on a set piece this season and his first finish on a corner kick.
“Well at times we didn’t take advantage of some spots that we could have exploited and we weren’t going forward when we had the opportunity,” Kerr said. “Basically in the second half we just stepped it up in terms of our speed of play and our attacking going forward.”
Overall, Duke held an 18-11 in shots and won the corner kick battle 12-7. In goal, Tyler Blackmer made four saves and Long had two for the night.
Duke hits the road for an ACC match at new member Notre Dame Friday night. Kickoff with the No. 4 Irish is set for 7:30 p.m.