They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.
Each week, the Blue Zone will dissect five key numbers from last week's action in Duke sports, whether they be historic or underwhelming. This week, let the numbers take you inside men's soccer's struggles, volleyball's upset victory and football's upcoming ACC battle.
Once ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, the men’s soccer team has now lost three straight games to begin its ACC gauntlet and have dropped out of the top 25. It seems as though the Blue Devils (4-3, 0-2 in the ACC) have lost their footing, scoring just two goals in their three game losing streak. Despite their struggles, goalkeeper Will Pulisic has been solid as a last line of defense, notching 10 and eight saves against Clemson and SMU, respectively. Hopefully the team can bounce back against its Tobacco Road Rivals this Friday in Chapel Hill.
Utter domination is the best way to describe field hockey’s season thus far. In the team’s seven games, it has outscored its opponents 24-4 for a 20-goal margin. Five of its opponents were ranked nationally, and the team has played in two double overtime games already, proving that Duke’s success has been no easy feat. The undefeated Blue Devils (7-0) are now ranked No. 2 behind their Tar Heel foes, but they have a chance to snag that No. 1 spot in two weeks when they face North Carolina on the road.
The women’s soccer team has already played in three overtime games this season, making the players' lives that much harder as they head into ACC play. Duke’s offense has had ups and downs throughout the year, which have contributed to the team’s occasional inability to finish out games with go-ahead scores in regulation. As the 10th-ranked Blue Devils (5-1-2, 0-0-1 in the ACC) prepare to take on No. 1 Virginia next Sunday, they will have to make sure the offense that showed up against LSU and James Madison next week–both teams left Koskinen Stadium with a 6-0 loss–comes to play in the upcoming weeks.
It took five sets for the volleyball team to upset No. 14 Oregon last Friday, in arguably Duke’s best win of the year. Sophomore Ade Owokoniran’s presence at the net helped out quite a bit, as she earned 10 kills in her return from injury. With the Blue Devils (7-6) hovering around .500, hopefully this big win will light a flame under Duke as it attempts to bolster its record against other ACC opponents.
In Duke’s first winnable game against another Power 5 program this Friday, the Blue Devils are favored to defeat Virginia Tech by just 2.5 points. This match might be Duke’s first that doesn’t end in a blowout, and whether the Blue Devils win or lose will tell a little bit more about how good they really are. We’ll all have to wait and see if Quentin Harris can lead Duke to its seventh bowl game in eight years.
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