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No. 9 Princeton dominates Duke rowing in Blue Devils' regular season finale

<p>For the second time this season, Duke failed to register a victory in any of its races against a top-10 opponent.</p>

For the second time this season, Duke failed to register a victory in any of its races against a top-10 opponent.

The Blue Devils were hoping to build off a tie for first place at the Dale England Cup Saturday in New Jersey but came away empty-handed against a top-10 opponent for the second time this season. 

No. 19 Duke fell in all six of its races against No. 9 Princeton Saturday on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J., failing to register a victory in a dual meet with one of the nation's premier programs for the second time in April. The Blue Devils also failed to register a single victory against then-No. 3 Virginia April 9. 

Duke was unable to earn victories in any of the V4, V8 or 2V8 races that were officially timed in the morning and unofficially timed in the afternoon, but Blue Devil head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno said that the team's improvement in the afternoon gave it something positive to build on entering postseason play. Saturday marked Duke's final regular season event, with the ACC championship starting May 13 in Clemson, S.C.

“When you go up against these guys, it’s always going to be a tough challenge,” Cooke Carcagno told “We showed that we’re moving in the right direction. All boats figured out another gear for themselves between the morning and afternoon sessions and that was exciting to see. We just go back to work and get ready for ACCs.”

The closest the Blue Devils came to a win Saturday was in the morning 2V8 race, in which Duke fell by just 2.8 seconds. The 2V8 featured several Blue Devil veterans, including senior captains Simone Pitre and Lauren Miranda. 

Duke's other boats did not fare as well, with the V4 boat that won nearly every race it competed in at the Dale England Cup last week ringing in 9.1 seconds after the first-place Princeton boat.

In the main event of the day—the V8 race—the Blue Devils were blown out, with the Tigers cruising to a 15.8-second victory. 

The morning session was largely reminiscent of the Blue Devils’ trip to Charlottesville, Va., three weeks ago. The veteran Tigers, like the Cavaliers, used their established talent to find consistency and the finish line. On the other hand, Duke was shuffling lineups by the afternoon races in response to the tepid start.

“Today was a good day for us to address a number of things, both externally and internally,” Cooke Carcagno said. “We've got to look at a couple of different lineups on a couple of different boats and made some coxswain switches. We were able to find out more information about our team, which I think is really helpful going into ACCs. Hats off to Princeton. That’s a really strong team with really good tradition and a great coach.”