DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke men’s soccer team held its annual team banquet this past weekend to wrap up the 2012 campaign and honor a selection of players. Senior James Belshaw and junior Sebastien Ibeagha headlined the award winners at the team’s Most Valuable Players.
Sophomore Sean Davis was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player, while Ibeagha took home the Most Valuable Defensive Player honor. Zach Mathers was voted the Rookie of the Year and Rob Dolot was recognized for his hard work, dedication and leadership with the John Rennie Award.
Duke’s lone senior, Belshaw finished up an outstanding goalkeeping career for the Blue Devils by earning his first NSCAA All-America award. He was a two-time All-ACC first team selection, the first Duke goalkeeper to accomplish the feat, and a four-time NSCAA All-South Region choice. He excelled off the field as well, garnering NSCAA Scholar All-America honors as a junior and senior.
Behind the play of Belshaw, the Blue Devils posted nine shutouts in 2012 – the most since 2009. The team’s 0.70 goals against average was the lowest since 1987 and ranked ninth nationally. Belshaw finished the season ranked 11th nationally in goals against average (.705) and 15th in save percentage (.835). Overall for his career, Belshaw amassed over 7,000 career minutes in goal, a .766 save percentage, a 1.04 goals against average and 21 career shutouts. His 21 clean sheets rank third in Duke history, while the eight in 2012 are tied for eighth on the single-season chart.
Ibeagha, Duke’s leading scorer and top defender, had at least one point in six different games and registered a career-high two goals in the 3-0 win over Georgia State. A force in the air, four of Ibeagha's five goals came on set pieces, while his fifth tally was in the run of play against the Panthers. A second team All-ACC selection in 2011 and an ACC All-Freshman pick in 2010, the Houston native became the 12th different Duke defender to earn first team All-ACC recognition. For his career, Ibeagha has played in 50 games for 4467 minutes and helped Duke to 18 shutouts. Offensively, he has six goals and three assists for 15 points.
After battling an injury his rookie season, Davis anchored the Blue Devil midfield this past season en route to garnering All-ACC second team honors. He ranked third among field players in minutes played (1, 645) in 18 starts and distributed three assists, including setting up the winning goal against SIU Edwardsville in the regular season finale. For his career Davis has played in 30 games with 28 starts and has a goal and five assists for six points. He was one of four sophomores in the ACC this year to earn either first or second team recognition.
Mathers, a 2012 All-ACC Freshman Team selection, was equally as important to Duke's defense. Splitting time between center back and an attacking midfielder role, the Keller, Texas native was a part of nine Duke shutouts as well as scoring two goals and four assists for eight points. Mathers registered his first career points with a pair of assists in a 3-0 win over Georgia State and netted his first career goal with the game winner at Virginia Tech. He also tallied the game-winning score in the 2-0 win over SIUE in the regular season finale. The rookie played in every minute up until the Davidson match, being substituted for nine minutes in that game. Overall, Mathers ranked first among field players in minutes played with 1,652.
Duke’s steady outside back, Dolot was again a consistent presence for Duke in 2012. Starting all 18 games and playing all but 18 minutes, he helped Duke to post nine shutouts and an impressive 0.70 goals against average. The Belleville, Mich., game has started all but three games in his career and has a goal and three assists to his name.
Duke finished the year 8-8-2 overall and 3-4-1 in conference play and fell to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semifinal.