DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University junior Sebastien Ibeagha registered a career-high two goals to lead the Blue Devils to a 3-0 victory over visiting Georgia State in men's soccer action this evening at Koskinen Stadium. Sophomore Nick Palodichuk provided the game-winner for the Blue Devils.
Duke (2-3-0) registered its first shutout of the season with the 3-0 victory and posted its first three-goal performance of the season. The three goals this evening match the season total up through the first four games. Georgia State falls to 2-2-0 on the year and suffered its first shutout of the campaign.
"It's huge [to get the shutout]," head coach John Kerr said. "[James Belshaw] was a stalwart again tonight. He didn't have to make as many saves, but they were dangerous and our back four were immense tonight and that's a good upward trend for us."
The Panthers had the better of play in the opening half, outshooting Duke 6-1. The Blue Devils' lone shot was a fabulous chance as freshman Zach Mathers hit the right post on a rifle just inside the 18-yard box in the opening five minutes. Duke struggled to get going offensively for the remainder of the stanza, but stayed strong defensively to head into the locker room even at 0-0.
The second half was a different story for the Blue Devils. Duke played with a great sense of urgency from the opening whistle, attacking and generating quality scoring opportunities. Duke forced Georgia State goalkeeper Vincent Foermer to make a pair of saves 10 minutes into the half after not putting a shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.
"We just needed to pick up the tempo in the second half," Kerr said. "We were not as aggressive in the first half as we were in the second half. We were at home and we knew we needed to be the aggressor and came out and get after it."
Duke, after pressuring the Panther defense for nearly 20 minutes, finally broke through for the game's first goal. After the ball popped out to sophomore defender Chase Keesling 30 yards from goal, the Cary, N.C., native chipped the ball back into the penalty area where sophomore Nat Eggleston got a touch on it. Eggleston's touch landed right at the feet of Palodichuk who fired it home for the 1-0 lead and his second goal of the game.
Just over 15 minutes later, Ibeagha gave the Blue Devils a two-goal cushion as he headed home a perfectly served corner kick from Mathers. The goal was Ibeagha's second of the season and gave Duke a 2-0 lead with 20 minutes to play.
The Panthers continued to try to get back into the contest with good pressure in the final 10 minutes of action. Senior goalkeeper James Belshaw ensured a clean sheet for Duke with an outstanding save in the 83rd minute and the Blue Devils kept Georgia State at bay before Ibeagha and Mathers combined again in the 87th minute.
Ibeagha saw an open lane and streaked forward in the open space. Mathers found Ibeagha wide open in the penalty box with just Foermer to beat. The Houston native calmly slipped the shot into the right corner for his first multiple-goal performance of his career.
Duke held a narrow 10-9 edge in shots, including a 9-3 edge in the second half. Belshaw finished with a save to secure the shutout, while Foermer had four stops. Both squads had six corner kicks apiece.
The Blue Devils resume ACC action September 14, hosting Clemson at 7 p.m., at Koskinen Stadium. The game will be streamed live by Blue Devil Network.
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