DURHAM, N.C—Duke scored a goal in each half and held Virginia Tech to just seven shots to score a 3-1 victory over the Hokies in its 2017 ACC opener. The Blue Devils remain unbeaten on the year and pick up three points in the ACC standings.
Duke dominated in all facets of the game, outshooting Virginia Tech 19-7, with Ben Lundgaard being forced to make eight saves. The Blue Devils backline, anchored by senior captain Markus Fjørtoft, was stellar, while the offense fired on all cylinders in moving the ball with pace and efficiency.
Brian White, Suniel Veerakone and Daniele Proch all had goals for the Blue Devils, while both White and Proch finished with a goal and an assist.
“It feels great to get the ACC win,” said head coach John Kerr. “I’m very happy with our performance tonight. It’s huge [getting goals from different players] because we do have a lot of weapons from all angles. There is more to come.”
The Blue Devils (4-0-1) controlled the action from the opening whistle, creating three dangerous chances in the first three minutes. Senior Cameron Moseley fired a shot towards the far post, saved by Lundgaard and skipped just wide of the frame. Just over 30 seconds later, rookie Daniel Wright knocked one off the right post and White had the rebound blocked.
“We take a lot of confidence away from this game,” Kerr said. “We dominated this game from start to finish. We had a couple shaky moments here and there, but overall we dictated the play, controlled the ball.”
Moving the ball all over the field with ease, Duke continued to threaten and finally broke through in the 36th minute when Proch calmly put away a rebound from Lundgaard. White started the action with a run down the right side and a well-placed service to the back post for Jack Doran. The sophomore, making the first start of his career, fired a shot low on frame and forced Lundgaard to give up the rebound right to Proch for the goal.
Defensively, Duke didn’t give Virginia Tech an inch on offense. The Blue Devils held the Hokies to just one shot in the opening 45 minutes and that came on a free kick from 25 yards that was saved by Will Pulisic.
“I thought Markus Fjørtoft was dynamite tonight. I was really pleased with his performance,” Kerr said. “I was gutted they didn’t get the shutout tonight because they really really well tonight.”
The second half proved to be much of the same for the Blue Devils as their level of play remained high. White, determined to score all night, used an outstanding individual effort from 20 yards to give Duke the two-goal cushion in the 60th minute. The Flemington, N.J., native cut back to his left and rifled a hot to the left corner for his fourth tally of the season.
Veerakone rounded out the scoring for the Blue Devils in the 81st minute as the beneficiary of a good pass from Proch. Fjørtoft started the play with a long free kick out of the back where White chested it down to Proch. The crafty midfielder sent it through to Veerakone who just had to pass it into the goal.
Virginia Tech (2-3-0, 0-1-0) got a goal back in the 82nd minute on a header from Collin Verfurth. Jon Ingason provided the near-post service from the left flank to spoil Duke’s attempt at a clean sheet.
Overall, Pulisic finished with three saves to earn his fourth win of the season.
The Blue Devils hit the road next for a neutral site game against rival North Carolina. Kickoff is set for Sept. 16 in Greensboro, N.C. at 7 p.m.