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Duke Blanks Virginia Tech in ACC Finale
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/27/2012
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BLACKSBURG, Va.-Duke scored one goal in each half and held Virginia Tech to seven shots en route to a 2-0 victory over the Hokies in the Blue Devils' ACC men's soccer finale this evening at Thompson Field. Duke recorded its seventh shutout of the season and second consecutive.

Freshman Zach Mathers and sophomore Riley Wolfe netted goals for the Blue Devils as Duke improved to 7-7-1 overall. Duke finishes the ACC slate with a 3-4-1 mark for 11 points and will await seeding next week. Virginia Tech falls to 6-8-3 and 0-6-1 in ACC play.

The Blue Devils and Hokies went back and forth in the middle third of the field in the opening 15 minutes with both squads searching for a rhythm. Duke started to control the run of play and patiently waited for that opening in the final third.

After a few quality scoring chances from Sebastien Ibeagha on set pieces, Duke finally broke through with a Mathers tally in the 31st minute. Playing in an attacking midfield role, the Dallas native made a great run in behind the defense to collect a perfectly played through ball from Wolfe.

Mathers calmly gathered the ball and set up for a one-on-one with Virginia Tech goalkeeper Kyle Renfro. The Hokie keeper made the initial save, but Mathers stayed with the play and put the rebound in the back of the net for his first career goal and a 1-0 Duke lead.

Luis Rendon nearly made it a 2-0 game late in the period with a great individual effort in the penalty area, but his shot was turned away by Renfro to send the Blue Devils into halftime in front 1-0. It was the third time Duke had taken a lead into the break and for the second straight game.

Duke came out attacking in the second half and dominated possession. Rendon was extremely active for the Blue Devils and nearly got on the board twice. His first strike sailed just over the crossbar, while his second was punched away by Renfro.

The possession continued to stay in the Blue Devils' favor as Duke played sharp quick passes in search of that second goal. The Blue Devils fired three shots in the early going of the second half before the Hokies were able to regain a rhythm and keep Duke from getting dangerous chances in the final third.

Virginia Tech started to take control of the contest midway through the half. Gaining momentum and confidence, the Hokies had a good look at net with a free kick from 30 yards out. Ben Strong struck the ball well, but Duke goalkeeper James Belshaw had it covered and watched it sail left of the post.

Playing for their seventh shutout of the season, the Blue Devils backline buckled down in the final eight minutes. Mike Wilkie took a chance from 20 yards, but Ibeagha was there to block it from getting through to help preserve the shutout.

After strong play from the defense, Wolfe sealed the game for the Blue Devils, netting his third goal of the season. Wolfe took a pass from junior Jonathan Aguirre in the right side of the penalty area and fired his shot to the far post for the 2-0 victory.

Duke held a 14-7 advantage in shots and a 3-0 edge in corner kicks in the win. Belshaw made two saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season and 19th of his career. Renfro made seven stops for the Hokies in the loss.

The Blue Devils will play their final two regular season games next week, traveling to Elon Oct. 30 and hosting SIU Edwardsville Nov. 2. Both games are slated to kick off at 7 p.m.