DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University senior Christopher Tweed-Kent successfully scored on the Blue Devils' sixth penalty kick and junior goalkeeper James Belshaw stopped Clemson's sixth and final shot to lead 24th-ranked and No. 3 seed Duke to a penalty kick shootout victory over the No. 6 seed Tigers in the ACC Men's Soccer Tournament quarterfinal this evening at Koskinen Stadium. The game finished in a 0-0 tie to force the shootout.
Duke advances to the ACC Tournament semifinal for the first time since 2006 when the Blue Devils took home the title and will play seventh seed Boston College on November 11 at 7:30 p.m., at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
"I'm ecstatic," head coach John Kerr said. "It's our first ACC Tournament win since we've been in charge and it's been a long time coming. We didn't play great tonight. We didn't play bad. I thought we played solid defensively and kept them to some lower looks at the goal. They're a dangerous team going forward. They've got some good wide and fast players and we did a good job and I'm very proud of them."
After both squads failed to score during 110 minutes of soccer, Duke and Clemson headed to a thrilling penalty kick shootout to determine the outcome. The Blue Devils were the first to shoot and it was Belshaw knocking it past Clemson goalie Cody Mizell for the 1-0 lead. The Tigers' Austin Savage evened the score and both teams traded penalty kick makes to leave it at 2-2.
Mizell came up huge for Clemson on Duke's third shot, making a nice save against Duke freshman Sean Davis. The Tigers added a third for the 3-2 lead. The Blue Devils made their final two shots to even the score at four with one Clemson shot remaining. Mizell stepped up to the 12-yard spot and ripped a shot high that hit the underside of the crossbar and came down on the goal line and bounced out to give Duke life again.
Even at four and heading into sudden victory, Tweed-Kent calmly placed his shot to the corner for the 5-4 lead and set up Belshaw for the biggest save of the game and a chance to play on for an ACC title.
"We've been working on [penalty kicks] as we prepare for the ACC Championship and NCAA Championship," Kerr said. "So we created that atmosphere in the day before practice so they understand what's at stake and the pressure that's on them. But I thought we did well in coming back from Sean's [Davis] miss earlier, which the goalkeeper made a great save on. To hold our nerve and make those shots to make sure that we kept alive. We were a little bit fortunate with that ball hitting the post and bouncing down and out and Chris Tweed-Kent made that extra shot and let [Belshaw] do what he's good at and that's making saves."
Both teams played stout defense throughout the 110 minutes of action. They combined for just 10 shots in the game, while Duke was whistled for nine offside calls and Clemson two. The Blue Devils controlled the run of play for much of regulation and generated the best scoring opportunity of the night when Davis' shot hit the right post and bounced away. Freshman Nick Palodichuk also created a few opportunities that Mizell stopped or were just wide to keep the game scoreless.
Clemson, despite firing only three shots for the game, had a few good looks in the later stages of regulation and into overtime. In the second overtime the Tigers just missed hitting home a cross from the right flank as it sailed just past Amadou Dia at the far post.
Overall for the game, Duke held a 7-3 lead in shots. Clemson edged the Blue Devils in corner kicks, 5-3. Mizell finished the night with four saves, while Belshaw had one in his fourth shutout and second consecutive of the year.
Duke and Boston College will kick off in the ACC Tournament Semifinal on November 11 at 7:30 p.m., at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Tickets bought prior to 5 p.m., on November 11 are $5 and go up to $15 for adults and $10 for students and children after 5 p.m. on the day of the game.
Duke improves to 18-9-4 in ACC Tournament history and is 3-3-1 as the No. 1 seed...The Blue Devils advance to their 13th ACC Semifinal and first since 2006 when they captured the crown ... Duke and Boston College will be meeting in the ACC Tournament for the third straight season ... The Blue Devils are 0-2-0 against the Eagles in ACC postseason history ... The shootout victory is the second for Duke in ACC postseason history as it improves to 2-2 overall.