DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University junior center back Sebastien Ibeagha was voted by the ACC head coaches as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year to headline the Blue Devils' 2012 Men's Soccer All-ACC selections. Senior goalkeeper James Belshaw joined Ibeagha on the first team, while Duke landed one player on both the second and All-Freshman Team.
Sophomore Sean Davis captured second team accolades, while freshman Zach Mathers was voted to the All-Freshman squad. Ibeagha is Duke's second ACC Defensive Player of the Year since the award began in 2004 and marks the sixth time a Blue Devil has won a major award since 2008. Duke's four selections overall are tied for fourth most behind Maryland, North Carolina and Wake Forest. The Terrapins led all teams with eight honorees across the three teams.
A four-year starter on defense, Ibeagha was an offensive and defensive threat for the Blue Devils this season. He anchored Duke's backline to nine shutouts and paced the offense with five goals and two assists for 12 points. Ibeagha had a 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 selection in 2011 and an All-Freshman pick in 2010, the Houston native is the 12th different Duke defender to earn first team recognition. For his career, Ibeagha has played in 50 games for 4467 minutes and helped Duke to 21 shutouts. Offensively, he has six goals and three assists for 15 points.
Leading Duke's stalwart defense from the goal, Belshaw has anchored the Blue Devils' defense each of the past four seasons. He is the first Duke goalkeeper in program history and the ninth in ACC history to earn first team honors twice in his career and is only the third Duke goalie to win multiple All-ACC honors after earning All-ACC second team recognition as a sophomore.
In addition to his stellar play in goal, Belshaw netted his first career goal in 2012, knocking home a penalty kick in a 2-0 win over Clemson. In goal for the Blue Devils, Belshaw registered a career-best eight shutouts and a career-low 0.69 goals against average in 2012. His eight shutouts are tied for eighth in Duke single season history, while his 21 clean sheets are third. A four-year starter in goal the Nottingham, England native played over 7,000 minutes in his career and sports a .766 save percentage and a 1.04 goals against average.
Behind the play of Belshaw and Ibeagha, the Blue Devils' nine shutouts are the most since 2009, while the team's 0.70 goals against average is the lowest since the 1987 squad posted a 0.63 goals against average.
Davis, a center midfielder, captured second team honors after leading Duke's middle third of the field throughout the season. The Holmdel, N.J., native started all 18 games and played all but 18 minutes this season. He registered a pair of assists for the year, including setting up the winning goal against SIU Edwardsville in the regular season finale. After missing the first half of the 2011 season, Davis has played in 30 games with 28 starts and has a goal and four assists for six points. He is one of four sophomores to earn either first or second team recognition.
Mathers helped to anchor Duke's defense for much of the season. A versatile player who also played an attacking midfield role, Mathers was a part of nine Duke shutouts as well as scoring two goals and four assists for eight points. The native of Keller, Texas registered his first career points with a pair of assists in a 3-0 win over Georgia State. He netted his first career goal with the game winner at Virginia Tech and tallied the game-winning score in the 2-0 win over SIUE. The rookie played in every minute up until the Davidson match, being substituted for nine minutes in that game. Overall, he ranked first among field players in minutes played with 1,652.
Duke is 8-8-2 overall and most recently fell to No. 3 North Carolina in the ACC Quarterfinals. The Blue Devils will await word about a potential NCAA Tournament berth. The 48-team field is set to be announced Monday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m., on NCAA.com.
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