DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University senior James Belshaw and junior Sebastien Ibeagha headlined the Blue Devils' three selections to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-South Region teams with first team recognition. Freshman Zach Mathers was voted to the third team to round out Duke's selections.
Duke is one of three schools to have two players on the first team and one of seven programs to have at least three players named across the three teams. Mathers, meanwhile, is one of five freshmen selected to the 36-player list.
Belshaw, a four-year starter in goal, picks up his fourth straight All-South Region award after earning first team honors in 2010, second team recognition in 2011 and third team accolades as a rookie. Recently named to the NSCAA All-America third team, the Nottingham, England native has anchored the Blue Devils' defense each of the past four seasons en route to amassing over 7,000 minutes in goal, a .766 save percentage, a 1.04 goals against average and 21 career shutouts.
This past season, Belshaw, a two-time All-ACC first team pick, became the first Duke goalkeeper in program history and the ninth in ACC history to earn first team honors twice in his career and only the third Duke goalie to win multiple All-ACC honors after he earned 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.
Behind the play of Belshaw, the Blue Devils' nine shutouts in 2012 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.
A three-year starter on defense, Ibeagha was an offensive and defensive threat for the Blue Devils in 2012 en route to be voted as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He became the second Duke player to win the award after anchoring the Blue Devils' backline to nine shutouts and pacing the offense with five goals and two assists for 12 points. Ibeagha earns his third All-South Region honor after bringing in third and second team awards in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Ibeagha had at least one 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 All-ACC selection in 2011 and an ACC All-Freshman pick in 2010, the Houston native became the 12th different Duke defender to earn first team All-ACC recognition. For his career, Ibeagha has played in 50 games for 4467 minutes and helped Duke to 18 shutouts. Offensively, he has six goals and three assists for 15 points.
Mathers, a 2012 All-ACC Freshman Team selection, was equally as important to Duke's defense. Splitting time between center back and an attacking midfielder role, the Keller, Texas native was a part of nine Duke shutouts as well as scoring two goals and four assists for eight points. Mathers registered his first career points with a pair of assists in a 3-0 win over Georgia State and netted his first career goal with the game winner at Virginia Tech. He also tallied the game-winning score in the 2-0 win over SIUE in the regular season finale. The rookie played in every minute up until the Davidson match, being substituted for nine minutes in that game. Overall, Mathers ranked first among field players in minutes played with 1,652.
Duke finished the year 8-8-2 overall and 3-4-1 in conference play and fell to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semifinal.
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