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Duke Fights No. 23 Elon to Scoreless Draw
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/30/2012
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ELON, N.C.-The Duke University men's soccer team extended its shutout streak to 309:58 as it battled its way to a 0-0 tie at No. 23 Elon this evening at Rudd Field. The Blue Devils had eight shots, including one off the crossbar, in the double overtime draw.

Duke moves to 7-7-2 overall for the year, while the 23rd-ranked Phoenix are 12-4-3. The Blue Devils have posted shutouts in each of the past three games, last giving up a goal Oct. 19.

"I thought this was a great soccer game tonight," head coach John Kerr said. "There was a lot of action and both teams moved the ball well. I am really proud of the way our guys played tonight. The defense was outstanding again and now we move onto SIU Edwardsville on Friday."

Duke controlled possession in the early parts of the game, moving the ball quickly all over the field. Sophomore Riley Wolfe had the first look at goal of the night for the Blue Devils, but his strike skipped just wide of the left post.

The Blue Devils defense was outstanding and organized in keeping the Phoenix from developing any dangerous attacking opportunities through the opening 20 minutes.

Elon, starting to gain more possession, had a good look at goal in the 20th minute as Jordan Smith got open on a set piece. Smith headed the ball to the far post, but was unable to beat senior goalkeeper James Belshaw as the veteran goalie smothered the ball.

The Phoenix continued to build momentum and began to control the run of play. Belshaw came up big with a pair of heads up plays to help keep Elon off the board.

Those proved to be the only opportunities of the opening 45 minutes as the two teams headed into the locker rooms scoreless.

Duke, in search of the game's first goal, had two stellar opportunities in the opening seven minute. Wolfe got into the action again as his strike was blocked and just missed sliding inside the near post. Minute later it was freshman Zach Mathers getting into the action with a strike from 20 yards clanging off the crossbar.

The Blue Devils continued to press forward as junior Will Donovan's chance was tipped wide of the far post to keep the game scoreless with just over 30 minutes to play in the second half. Duke continued to possess, but were unable to find that elusive goal as the teams ended regulation knotted at zero.

Duke's backline was outstanding in the game, holding the nation's leading scorer to just one shot and to Elon to just three shots overall in the second half.

In overtime, the Blue Devils continued to have the better of play, but could not find that final pass to get on the board. The two teams managed just one shot overall in the final 20 minutes of the contest.

Belshaw finished with three saves to post his seventh shutout of the year and 20th of his career. Nathan Dean made two saves in the tie.

Overall, Duke held a narrow 8-7 advantage in shots and won the corner kick battle 4-0. The Blue Devils held Thomas to one shot overall in 89 minutes of action.

Duke closes the regular season Friday night when it hosts SIU Edwardsville at 7 p.m. Belshaw will be honored prior to the game for the Blue Devils.