Spartans hold on for 3-2 win over No. 12 Duke
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Hakan Ilhan scored a pair of goals and UNCG used a bend-don't-break defense over the final 23 minutes as the Spartans opened the 2011 season with a 3-2 victory over No.12 Duke before 2,064 fans, Friday UNCG Soccer Stadium.
The win is just the fourth for the Spartans over the Blue Devils in 17 meetings but the third in the last four encounters.
UNCG (1-0-0) opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Brian Graham sent a long cross from the right side to Oddur Gudmundsson, who gathered the ball and bounced a shot into the lower left corner to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
A penalty kick by Hakan Ilhan in the 16th minute made it 2-0, and Ilhan missed a chance to give UNCG a three-goal lead when his shot from 10 yards out hit the bottom of the left post in the 35th minute. The Spartans settled for a two-goal lead at halftime.
Duke was more aggressive to open the second half, but the Spartans withstood the attack.
Ilhan appeared to give UNCG an insurmountable lead in the 56th minute when he took a long throw-in from David Reittinger and scored on a breakaway for a 3-0 Spartans advantage.
But Duke's Andrew Wegner single-handedly brought the Blue Devils back into the match. He cut UNCG's lead to 3-1 with a goal in the 65th minute. Less than three minutes later he scored on a penalty kick to pull Duke within 3-2.
The UNCG defense held firm the rest of the way, helping to seal an impressive season-opening victory.
Overall, Duke out-shot UNCG 13-8 for the match. Spartans goalkeeper Peyton Ford made four saves, while Duke keeper James Belshaw recorded one save.
The Spartans return to action when they host East Tennessee State, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 31st.