It would be hard to know it now, since Duke has been a national contender the past 15 years.
In fact, even Oct. 18, 2003, it was hard to know what was at stake, when the Blue Devils beat North Carolina 5-0 at what was then known as just Williams Field.
But from 1981 to 2003 during a span of 49 games, Duke did not beat the Tar Heels once.
How crazy is that?
Well, that’s crazy no matter what. In addition, though, 12 of those 49 contests were decided by one goal. And every single time, the Blue Devils could not find a way to win.
During that span, North Carolina won four national championships, and Duke reached the quarterfinals just twice.
The win in 2003 began a streak of five wins against the Tar Heels in six matches. But as has been common throughout the program’s history, the Blue Devils were never able to win the national title, though the freshmen on the 2003 squad reached the championship each of their first three years and the semifinals all four times.
Since then, North Carolina has taken down the Blue Devils in 16 of their 19 matchups. But one of those outlying three games took place this past Friday, a 3-2 win for Blue Devils who are ranked No. 2 in the nation.