They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.
It has been a long time since Duke did not appear in the NCAA tournament. To be exact, the last year the Blue Devils missed the cut was 1995, the same year DVDs were invented.
We all know the story by now, but the Blue Devils had a mercurial season. After dropping key games against Michigan State and Illinois early on and missing extensive time because of COVID-19, Duke pinballed between wins and losses until it entered the ACC tournament as the No. 10 seed with an 11-11 record.
However, March Madness hopes were still alive after the Blue Devils trounced Boston College and Louisville in the conference tournament, with one more quality win against Florida State in the semifinals potentially being enough to get Duke into the NCAA tournament. But the hope fizzled out once Duke announced that the game was cancelled due to a positive test within Duke’s Tier 1 personnel, and Selection Sunday came and went without a mention of Duke for the first time since 1995.
The men’s lacrosse team continued its historic season this past week with two more wins against High Point and Jacksonville to tack onto its undefeated streak. The offense, led by Michael Sowers in points and Brennan O’Neill in goals, has been incredible, but the real strength of this team has been the cohesion between the offense and defense. Duke’s 74 point goal differential is the highest in the league, and it’s not particularly close. The defense has held their opponents to single-digit scoring in its last six contests while the offense has shined with historic performances, ever-widening the gulf between the goals for and goals against.
Graduate senior Meible Chi of the women’s tennis team led the Blue Devils to a rebound 6-1 win against Clemson Sunday after Georgia Tech snapped Duke’s seven-game win streak Friday. At the match, Chi snagged her ninth consecutive singles win, putting her at a team-high 14-2 for the season. Chi and Margaryta Bilokin also won their doubles match to help get Duke the doubles point, and currently the team is ranked ninth in the NCAA after improving to 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the ACC.
To say the men’s soccer team is having a rough spring is an understatement. The Blue Devils scored zero goals in four of their five contests this season, including last weekend’s 0-2 loss to Notre Dame. The game exposed many of the same struggles that Duke has shown before: despite controlling possession and getting the ball into dangerous positions, the Blue Devils simply can’t finish. With two 0-0 double-overtime ties, two shutout losses and just one 4-2 win under its belt, Duke needs to shake off whatever curse is repelling the ball from the net like a turned-around magnet.
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The women’s golf team had an admirable weekend, finishing second in the Valspar Augusta Invitational. After rounds of 274, 277 and 286, Duke finished 27-under par with a final tally of 837 on 54 holes and through the first 36, every Blue Devil was under par. On their way to such a solid showing, freshman Phoebe Brinker tied for second overall, and her score of 64 in the first round set the program’s record for lowest 18-hole score by a freshman. In the end, Brinker, Jaravee Boonchant and Gina Kim finished in the top 10 individually.