They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.
Thursday night’s clash of the titans between No. 1 Duke men’s lacrosse and No. 2 North Carolina, both undefeated, lived up to its billing and more, with the Blue Devils delivering the final blow in the 12-11 overtime victory. While the barnburner featured plenty of individual heroics in both shades of blue, senior attackman Joe Robertson’s game-high seven points (four goals, three assists) and his acrobatic sudden-death goal in overtime stood a cut above the rest. The instant classic adds yet another chapter to Robertson’s remarkable comeback campaign and keeps Duke (10-0, 2-0 in the ACC) in pursuit of perfection with another top-five matchup looming Saturday at No. 4 Notre Dame.
When five-star shooting guard Trevor Keels—the top-ranked player out of Virginia and No. 19 prospect on the ESPN100—committed to Duke Thursday night, he became the third five-star recruit to join the Blue Devils for the upcoming 2021-22 season. While the sharpshooter’s announcement already elevates Duke’s incoming class to top three status for the eighth consecutive year, the rich may be getting richer if five-star small forward and No. 4 overall recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr. ends up choosing the Blue Devils over his father’s program in the coming weeks.
No. 15 Duke field hockey almost pulled off the improbable Friday: in a near-upset of top-ranked North Carolina on the road, the Blue Devils came close to snapping the opponent’s 33-game home winning streak until the Tar Heels’ kept it intact with a decisive penalty stroke in double overtime, ending the game at 4-3. Despite the loss, freshman goalkeeper Piper Hampsch tallied a career-high 19 saves to anchor the Blue Devils on the defensive end, keeping her team alive in a contest in which they were heavily outshot 32-13 by the opponent. The freshman’s improvement figures to be an important storyline Saturday as Duke (3-11, 1-3) takes on No. 5 Louisville at home.
Disappointment continues to build for Duke men’s soccer, whose Saturday night matchup at N.C. State followed a familiar game script and resulted in the team’s third scoreless tie of the season. The Blue Devils (4-9-3, 4-5-1) have been plagued by sporadic offense since the fall, but the team’s youth and tendency to control the game’s tempo are both reasons for optimism as they prepare for Friday night’s regular season finale at home against No. 16 North Carolina.
Longtime North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams announced his retirement Thursday, prompting Duke fans everywhere to look back upon the last 18 years of the legendary Tobacco Road rivalry, specifically between Williams and Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Since the two first faced off in a 1989 Blue Devil win over Williams’ Kansas Jayhawks, the Hall of Fame coaches have gifted the basketball world with 32 years of incredible competition and, as Krzyzewski made sure to note in his statement regarding William’s retirement, an equally incredible friendship. College basketball’s greatest rivalry will surely live on, but it would be remiss not to recognize Williams’ role in the last few decades of Duke lore.
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