CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.óDuke University senior midfielder Mike Grella tallied a goal in the 102 minute to lead the Blue Devils to a crucial 1-0 double overtime victory over ACC foe Boston College in men’s soccer action tonight. It is Grella’s ninth goal of the season and fourth in the past two games.
“I always say that good teams always find ways to win even when they’re not playing well,” head coach John Kerr said. “We didn’t play well for most of the game, but our defense held strong. We seemed to get stronger in overtime and Grella came through in the clutch for us.”
Rookie Temi Molinar won the ball at midfield and forced the Boston College defense to retreat. He found the feet of Grella near the top of the box. Grella faked an initial shot and put the ball on his left foot and lofted the ball over the keeper into the right corner.
“Grella did a great job getting open for Temi and faked like he was going to shoot and then had a fantastic finish,” Kerr said. “It was a great individual effort by both of them.”
The Blue Devils improve to 5-3-1 overall and 2-1-1 in league action, while Boston College drops to 3-5-1 and 2-2-0 against conference foes. Duke has allowed just two goals in the previous seven games and posted five shutouts during that span.
Boston College outshot Duke 17-3, and had four or five good looks at the goal but it was the Blue Devils who were able to capitalize in the end. Playing stingy defense in recent weeks, the Blue Devils have let only one goal in against ACC foes this season.
The Blue Devils took it to Boston College in the opening minutes winning three straight corner kicks, but the Eagles were able to clear the ball from danger each time. Boston College got into its offensive flow a little bit after that as Shawn Chin took the first shot on frame. Duke goalkeeper Brendan Fitzgerald was there to make the stop for the Blue Devils.
A few minutes later the Eagles’ Alejandro Bedoya got loose and fired a shot on goal, but was turned away again by Fitzgerald. The Blue Devils continued to attack, but were unable to find that final third pass. Duke’s defense stymied BC’s attack in the final minutes of the half as the two teams headed into the locker room tied at zero.
The Eagles came out of the break and continued to run at Duke, earning an early corner kick. Looking to get that go-ahead score, Boston College generated a couple more good looks, but the Blue Devil defense was up to the task as the game remained scoreless.
Duke came back a little while later to generate some offense and won two corner kicks, but Boston College was again able to keep the Blue Devils off the scoreboard.
With both teams pushing for a win in the final minutes, Duke senior Mike Grella got loose around the goal as his shot went wide of the net.
Boston College came right back at the Blue Devils and nearly captured the 1-0 victory as Bedoya’s shot with 27 seconds left in regulation hit the crossbar. Denied by the woodwork, BC and Duke headed into overtime to determine a winner.
The Eagles had two shots in the first 10-minute session, but it would require 1:56 into the next overtime period to decide the contest. The Blue Devils caused a disruption at midfield and capitalized on that chance to earn the victory.
Fitzgerald made five saves in the 102 minutes of action, while Chris Brown had not stops. Boston College had the edge in corner kicks, 8-7.
“We are very excited to get this win and hopefully we can take this momentum into the big game with North Carolina next weekend,” Kerr said.
The Blue Devils are back in action again on Oct. 10, hosting UNC in the Carlyle Cup at 7 p.m., at Koskinen Stadium. The game also comes in conjunction with Duke’s alumni weekend.