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Recapping this week in Duke Athletics: Football continues slump, men's soccer wins in dramatic fashion

Duke football totaled seven turnovers Saturday in an ugly loss.
Duke football totaled seven turnovers Saturday in an ugly loss.

Each week, our beat writers will recap how each of Duke’s sports currently competing performed over the last week, as well as give a brief look ahead. We start with the week of Sept. 21.

Football

There’s not much to celebrate right now with the performance of the football team. After a promising start in a competitive loss at Notre Dame two weeks ago, Duke’s home-opening blowout to Boston College and its embarrassing defeat at Virginia this past Saturday casted a dark cloud over any positive things the Blue Devils (0-3, 0-3 in the ACC) had going for them. 

Most notably, quarterback Chase Brice threw four interceptions Saturday to contribute to the Blue Devils’ seven turnovers on the day. At this point, it is unclear if the quarterback position is up for grabs again, but whoever does start is going to have a tall task against Virginia Tech this coming Saturday. -Jake C. Piazza

Men’s soccer

Men’s soccer (1-1, 1-0 in the ACC) opened up its season last Monday in Lexington, Ky. Despite the 4-2 loss, Duke received impressive showings by some of the team’s key players, notably goals from senior Daniel Wright and graduate student Jack Doran, a member of the ACC Preseason Watch List who missed all of last year due to injury. 

The highlight of the week, though, was the Blue Devils’ double-overtime 1-0 victory Saturday against N.C. State, in which freshman Nick Pariano knocked in the game-winner with less than a minute remaining in the second overtime and senior Will Pulisic held the Wolfpack scoreless for all 110 minutes. Duke’s next match comes against North Carolina this Friday. -Alex Jackson


Women’s soccer

The seventh-ranked Blue Devil women’s soccer team played top-ranked North Carolina at home Sunday, a weeklong layoff since their last match. Duke (1-1-2, 0-1-2 in the ACC) came into the weekend searching for its first conference win after two straight ties and left continuing that search, losing 2-0 to the Tar Heels

However, the Blue Devils have reason to be hopeful going forward, generating multiple great opportunities that they weren’t quite able to capitalize on against North Carolina, but will likely capitalize on in the future. They’ll have a week to work on those opportunities, not playing again until Sunday when they’ll face No. 3 Clemson at home. -Jonathan Browning

Field hockey

Field hockey struggled to begin the 2020 season, dropping both of its opening matches to Louisville, with one counting as an ACC contest. Nevertheless, Duke (0-2, 0-1 in the ACC) showed great improvement following the first defeat last Friday, particularly in its offensive aggression. Several newcomers stepped up in big ways after the team lost numerous key upperclassmen to graduation, indicating a bright future for this young Blue Devil squad. This Sunday, Duke will get an even tougher test at home against powerhouse North Carolina, winners of the last two NCAA championships. -Evan Kolin

Volleyball

Volleyball started off its 2020 season on a strong note. Duke (2-0, 2-0 in the ACC) swept N.C. State in its opening two matches this past week, playing a much more composed and intelligent brand of volleyball than last year. Already a quarter of the way through the shortened season, every single match is going to count much more than usual, so it’s crucial that Duke comes out strong in its next two road matches at Virginia. -Christian Olsen

Cross country

Duke’s men’s and women’s cross country teams opened their season with the Virginia Tech Invitational last Friday and performed about as well as one would expect, with the men and women both finishing decidedly behind powerhouse N.C. State, but defeating Virginia Tech in the three-team meet. 

With the ACC Championships Oct. 30 being the sole determinant of conference results, this race was more of a warm-up than anything else, though some impressive performances Friday indicate this could be one of the stronger seasons for the program in recent memory. The Blue Devils will travel to Cary, N.C., for the N.C. State Invitational next Wednesday. -Kolin

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