DURHAM, N.C.—UNC Wilmington scored a goal in the 79th minute to break open a 1-1 tie en route to the 2-1 victory over Duke in non-conference men’s soccer action this evening at Koskinen Stadium. Brody Huitema notched the Blue Devils’ score in the setback.
Duke started the game strong, stringing passes together and controlling the run of play in the opening minutes of the game. As play settled in the Seahawks started to get into a rhythm of their own and generated a few scoring chances.
“Wilmington outplayed us tonight,” said head coach John Kerr. “The second goal was a big time goal. We were unfortunate with two balls that hit the crossbar late to tie it up, but they deserved it and they won.”
Wilmington registered the first shots of the evening as Colin Bonner had a pair of shots saved by Duke goalkeeper Alex Long. The Seahawks continued to get forward, but Duke’s defense stayed strong and kept them off the board to head into halftime even at 0-0.
Duke came out of the locker room with more intensity and pressed forward from the opening whistle. Despite its high-energy play, the Blue Devils were unable to find that elusive pass in the final third and after dominating much of the action early on, Wilmington took a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute.
The Blue Devils successfully cleared UNCW’s corner kick away, but the Seahawks quickly played it back in as Jamie Dell slotted a ball across the face of the goal where Jacob VanCompernolle touched the ball into the back of the net.
Trailing 1-0 with just over 25 minutes to play, Duke knocked up its level of urgency another notch and put pressure on UNCW’s defense. The pressure paid off as a poor clearance from the Seahawks was controlled by Duke sophomore Luis Rendon in the middle of the field. Rendon quickly found Huitema behind the defense in the penalty area where the rookie striker ripped a shot past Sam Williams to tie the game.
However, just over 90 seconds later Dell struck again for the Seahawks. In a great individual effort, the junior midfielder got into the box for a one-on-one with Long and slipped it past the veteran keeper for the 2-1 advantage.
Duke never gave up and had a header from Sebastien Ibeagha cleared off the line, while another header from Huitema hit the underside of the crossbar. Sean Davis also had a great effort on a free kick as his strike sailed just high.
Overall, UNC Wilmington had a 10-9 edge in shots, while the Blue Devils had eight corner kicks to the Seahawks’ six. Long and Williams both made four saves apiece.
Duke resumes ACC play Friday at No. 12 North Carolina at 7 p.m., on ESPN3. Both squads are in search of their first ACC victories.