Sportswrap is your one-stop shop for everything Duke athletics, where we’ll recap how each of Duke’s sports currently in competition performed over the last week and give a brief look ahead.
The biggest story from this past week was not even the play of the team itself, but the surprising Monday night news that Jalen Johnson had opted out of the rest of the season. The announcement came two days after Duke handedly beat N.C. State, and the Blue Devils are now preparing for their matchup with Wake Forest Wednesday without their highest-ranked recruit. There’s six regular season games left, so if Duke (8-8, 6-6 in the ACC) wants to make a last-minute case for an NCAA tournament berth, it needs to treat every game like its season rides on it. -Jake Piazza
After getting off to slow starts in its first two wins of the season, No. 1 Duke exploded out of the gates against Mercer Saturday, leading 13-3 at halftime and ultimately winning 17-8. In his much-anticipated return from a torn ACL suffered just before the 2020 season began, Joe Robertson scored four goals and tallied an assist, while Michael Sowers had his best game of the season to date with four goals and two assists. This week, the Blue Devils (3-0) will take their first road trip of the season to face Towson, which is 1-1 on the season. -Sasha Richie
No. 15 Duke kicked off its season this week with a 16-11 win against Davidson. While the Blue Devils boast the 14th-ranked recruiting class in the country, it was the upperclassmen who shined in the win, including junior attacker Maddie Jenner and Pennsylvania transfer Gabby Rosenzweig. Duke (1-0) will face off against William & Mary Wednesday before beginning ACC play against Virginia Tech Sunday. -Campbell Lawson
After sorting out some defensive kinks in its season-opening win against Central Arkansas, now-No. 18 Duke proceeded to slap its way to eight runs over the first three innings in a statement victory against No. 5 LSU Friday night, sweeping the rest of its opening weekend as well. Topline starter Peyton St. George shined, pitching well enough against the Tigers to come just 10 strikes shy of a perfect game. Despite their Sunday matinee getting rained out, the Blue Devils (4-0) are entering conference play with the best start in (the admittedly short) program history. -Em Adler
Following a two-week break, No. 10 Duke showed no signs of weakness in a 7-0 sweep of Appalachian State Sunday, anchored by graduate student Meible Chi. The schedule is starting to heat up, with nonconference play winding down against VCU Wednesday, a match in which senior Kelly Chen hopes to become the 26th Blue Devil with 100 career singles wins. Duke (4-1) will follow that match with its first ACC competition of the year against Virginia and Virginia Tech this Friday and Sunday, respectively. -Matthew Hawkins
Duke swept its final two nonconference opponents of the season this past weekend, taking down East Tennessee State and Furman by scores of 5-2 and 7-0, respectively. While wins against two teams that are a combined 2-7 on the year is nothing to write home about, the Blue Devils do seem to have turned a corner in recent matches, with head coach Ramsey Smith labeling the squad’s close 4-3 loss at No. 19 Kentucky Feb. 7 as the turning point. Duke (4-4) will look to keep the momentum going when it opens conference play Feb. 26 at Georgia Tech. -Evan Kolin
After a rocky fall campaign, Duke opened its spring season with a 0-0 double-overtime draw against Charlotte Friday. The Blue Devils outshot the 49ers 14-9 but could not put one in the back of the net. The bright side of the match was the solid performance from Duke’s new goalkeeper, Eliot Hamill, who posted five saves in the shutout. The Blue Devils (2-6-1, 2-4-0) look to secure their first win of 2021 against Kentucky this upcoming Friday. -Cameron DeChurch
The losing streak continued for the Blue Devils (0-5, 0-5) Friday with a 37-6 defeat at the hands of No. 7 N.C. State in both teams’ regular-season finale. Redshirt junior Kaden Russell was the only Blue Devil to score points, pinning 16th-ranked Isaac Trumble at 197 pounds for Trumble’s first loss of the season. Next up on the schedule is the ACC Championships Feb. 28. -Piazza
Track and field
The Blue Devils notched some solid performances on the individual and team sides this past weekend in the Tiger Paw Invite. Sophomore Brynn King finished runner-up in the women’s pole vault, clearing 4.01 meters in the event. Elsewhere, sophomore Ezra Mellinger and senior Erin Marsh finished in seventh and fifth place in the men’s and women’s long jump, respectively.
One other performance of note came from Duke’s female 4x400m squad, as Marsh, fellow senior Lauren Hoffman, sophomore Carly King and freshman Hailey Williams combined to place fifth with a time of 3:42.15. Next, Duke will split up for the DMR Invitational and the Virginia Tech Challenge, both of which are set for this Friday and Saturday. -Max Rego
Fencing, swimming and diving and cross country did not compete this past week. Men’s and women’s fencing will next compete in the ACC Championship Feb. 27-28.
The women’s swimming team as well as both diving teams will compete in the ACC Championships this weekend, with the men’s swimming team competing in the ACC Championships Feb. 24-27.
Men’s and women’s cross country await to see if either will be selected to compete in the NCAA Championships, which is set to take place March 15.
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