Written by Will Parchman

 

Our goal of the week scuffle takes us from the Big East to the ACC, as we go Battle of the Sexes on two of the best goals from last week.

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Written by The 91st

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Heading into the 2013 season, the Duke men’s soccer team had a big hole to fill in goal.

From 2009-12, James Belshaw put together a sparkling career in Durham. In 78 appearances and over 7,000 total minutes, Belshaw conceded only 82 goals – good for a career goals against average of 1.04 – and made 268 saves.

Since leaving school, Belshaw’s been quite busy. After the 2012 season, he was selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft by the Chicago Fire, only to eventually turn down the club in favor of returning to his native England to continue his professional career there. He signed on at Nuneaton Town FC, in England’s fifth division and is currently competing in hopes of helping the team gain promotion. Along with that, he competed at the University games in Russia this summer.

The 91st Minute caught up with the goalkeeper recently to discuss how the time after college has progressed.

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Written by Will Parchman

maryland uni2

We here at the 91st Minute are big on jerseys. Really big. Like, XXXXXL big. Critiquing U13 club jerseys during Wednesday evening kickabouts? Not below us. Or even close.

Which is why it’s time to take a peek at my pick for the top three soccer jerseys in NCAA Division I soccer on both sides. The criteria here is loose and hits every point on the continuum. Whether that’s a slavish dedication to keeping beautiful tradition alive (UCLA) or a willingness to march into newer horizons and push the boundaries of what’s couth (Maryland). It’s all good so long as your jerseys are.

So let’s take a look under the DriFit curtain. Here are my top three for men’s and women’s as the season ticks over to 2013.

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Written by Mollie Pathman

Natasha

Natasha Anasi is a veteran member of the US U23 National Team and Duke standout. We caught up with her to discuss her experiences in last month’s Four Nations Tournament in Spain and her transition from rookie to veteran in the US Soccer program.

 

You were one of the younger U23s, now you’re one of the oldest – how has the transition been?

NA: The transition has actually been quite interesting. Before, I felt as if I was working and soaking up all the knowledge that was being presented to me. But now as an older player, I feel like there is an additional factor of teaching the younger players. It is cycle that will continue on.

 

How does the international game compare to the college game?

NA: The international game is much different than the college game. Each player is incredibly talented, which makes the game much faster. It also forces you to have clean touches. Their different styles of attack are also well planned and executed.

 

I know you hurt your ankle while in Spain and had to sit out several games. How was it being injured at camp and not being able to play the first few games? Did you gain a new perspective?

NA: I definitely got a new perspective being injured at camp. I was able to observe both practices and games. I was able to see how people were taking what they learned and translating that on to the field. While ideally I would have liked being able to play in every game, I still feel like I grew as a player watching the games and practices.

 

What did if feel like to win the tournament?

NA: It was amazing to win the tournament. We had a very solid squad with a mix of both the old U23s as well as the girls coming from the U20 World Championship team and to be able to mesh over that short ten days was remarkable.

Anasi breaks down the U23 roster after the jump.

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Written by Mollie Pathman

Mollie

Mollie Pathman is a Duke junior and a recent member of the US U20 WNT. As she prepares for her 2013 campaign through spring season, she shares her thoughts on the importance of the spring.

It’s that time of year again. The season is over, time to dust off those running shoes and lifting gloves…it’s springtime. As freshmen, you are just settling into college life and recovering from the whirlwind of that first season — wow, that was exhausting! As sophomores, you’ve experienced last year’s spring, so you know all the running and lifting that lies ahead. When you are a junior, as I am now, you realize that this is your last season and that now it is your turn to be a team leader. It’s your time to step up and give everything so that no matter how your senior season goes, you will have no regrets. And as seniors you will soon be off on your own, without your teammates, facing the world after college soccer.

The spring season is about improving yourself. You set goals in the spring, whether you are a starter who wants to improve their non-dominate foot, or a non-starter working on speed to get more playing time in the fall. It’s a time when you are competing mostly with your own team, battling for playing time in the fall and to make everyone else better. And it’s a time to adjust to the loss of the seniors, who have guided and led you up until now. Everyone has new roles to fill, both on and off the field. Inexperience is no longer an excuse; everyone has played a season of college soccer and need to now consistently compete at the college level – no excuses.

Follow Pathman’s story after the jump.

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men playing soccer

As the spring soccer season starts for teams all around the country, it is easy to forget those seniors that have moved on. There are over 1,000 seniors each year that run the course of their eligibility, and only a lucky few get a chance to play professional soccer.

So … what should you do when college soccer is over? Just quit? I don’t think so; there is so much more to soccer than just the college and professional level. When fighting so hard as college players do, day in and day out, it is so easy to forget what soccer really is about: the passion, the friendship, the memories, the game that we all have come to love.

It’s more than a game. All around the world people gather to kick a round ball. To people that never have been involved in the game that must sound so silly, but for us that play it is impossible to put into words how much that ball and that game means. It is impossible to just walk away from your community and surrounding a club. It gives people a sense of belonging, a sense of existence. That existence is what drives people all around the world. S

Soccer does not stop when we graduate college, it is something that will be a part of each player and fan until the day they die. Wherever the road might lead in life, soccer can be found. It reminds me of the film Pelada where Luke Boughen (Notre Dame) and Gwendolyn Oxenham (Duke) decided to travel the world to find what soccer is about beyond the lights of the arena. If you’ve never seen it, you should. Check out the trailer after the jump.

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Written by Dill Pickle

Duke forward Audrey Gibson killed your holiday break; just put it to shame. While you were playing with your brand new socks from grandma, Audrey was in London – ballin’.

She wrote about her experiences and you can read them in their entirety via Duke Athletics, but here are a few of the juiciest excerpts that I cut up strategically to make you sick to your holiday sweater stomach.

“We enjoyed high tea at The Dorchester where we nibbled on sandwiches, scones and a variety of desserts. In the evenings we dined at delicious restaurants, saw a few shows including the Nutcracker and The Little Match Girl and relaxed … we headed to a premier league game – Stoke City vs. Tottenham Spurs … after dinner we listened to the Queen’s speech and then opened presents while enjoying some tea and dessert.”

Yup … Happy New Year!

 

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Written by Jahmal Corner

Fifty-six teams down, seven to go. We’ve reached the Elite 8 of the Women’s Tournament, and since we’ve already handicapped the field for you it’s time to make some outright predictions. Here’s how today plays out:

1. North Carolina beats BYU in penalty kicks. The Cougars have slipped their way into the final eight in the most difficult way possible. They earned a one-goal win in the first round and a pair of PK triumphs in the following two matches. I see them finally being bitten by the Tar Heels.

 

2. Florida State hammers Notre Dame (by at least 2 goals). The Seminoles are on a mission. They can’t stop. They won’t stop.

 

3. Duke edges Penn State in a shootout. Not literally a shootout, but a high-scoring game. I see nine combined goals in this one. Everyone eats (Happy Thanksgiving) but Duke wins.

 

4. Stanford handles UCLA. This one has a big sister-little sister feel. A Pac-12 family struggle. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but the Cardinal is the big sister and until the Bruins grow up, big sister takes what she wants.

 

Which prediction do you most disagree with?

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Written by The 91st

We’ve reached the Women’s Elite 8. Which programs have the best chance of taking it all? Glad you asked. Meet the remaining teams and see their national title odds as calculated by our 91st Minute gut feeling.

STANFORD: Defending national champ. NATIONAL TITLE ODDS: 28 percent

 

FLORIDA STATE: Reached eighth straight Elite 8. NATIONAL TITLE ODDS: 20 percent

 

DUKE: Last season’s runner-up. NATIONAL TITLE ODDS: 13 percent

 

PENN STATE: Top-scoring team in the country. NATIONAL TITLE ODDS: 12 percent

See the remaining four programs after the jump.

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Written by Jahmal Corner


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Duke goalkeeper James Belshaw is the most interesting man in college soccer:

He made 115 saves last season – not goals, but human lives

Prince William calls HIM The Duke

He hasn’t been scored on in 399 minutes and 58 seconds, or, the length of time it took him to solve world peace.

Wait, that last one was completely legit. The first part, anyway. The Blue Devils netminder has a shutout streak that has to be among the most impressive things in college soccer. As Duke enters Tuesday’s ACC Conference Tournament match against North Carolina, Belshaw hasn’t allowed a score in four straight matches.

How has he done it? His own way. Belshaw is an intriguing young lad (he’s from England, which I like because it allows me to break out the term ‘lad’) and here are three things you should know about him:

1. His shutout streak superstition has been to break his superstition.

See how Belshaw broke tradition after the jump.

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