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The Devil's in the details: Robertson saves the day again, baseball rolls into ACC tournament

Senior attacker Joe Robertson (8) has been a force for the Blue Devils this season, now with six hat tricks including the quarterfinal matchup against Loyola.
Senior attacker Joe Robertson (8) has been a force for the Blue Devils this season, now with six hat tricks including the quarterfinal matchup against Loyola.

They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.

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The legend of Duke men’s lacrosse captain Joe Robertson continues to grow, as the senior attacker notched his third and most dramatic overtime game-winner of the season Sunday in a hard fought victory over Loyola, lifting the Blue Devils to a Final Four berth. In what has been nothing short of a magical season for the team, Robertson—who missed the entire 2020 campaign due to injury—has stood out as both a feel-good story and a big reason why these Blue Devils find themselves on the brink of cementing their place in history. Duke’s next stop in its pursuit of a championship comes Saturday against Maryland with a spot in the title game at stake.

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Graduate outfielder Chase Cheek’s timely ninth-inning go-ahead home run Sunday capped off Duke baseball’s sweep of Clemson in the regular season finale and marked the eighth straight win for the red-hot Blue Devils. With the streak now at nine following a blowout 12-1 win against Florida State Wednesday and more left to go in this week’s ACC tournament to punch a ticket to June’s NCAA tournament, it’s hard to believe that these are the same Blue Devils who, just two weeks and nine wins ago, stood 20-20 with little postseason hope remaining. Led by All-ACC outfielders Joey Loperfido and RJ Schreck—who combined for four home runs and seven RBIs against the Tigers over the weekend—Duke looks to stay hot into the postseason.

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While Duke softball’s storybook season came to an unfortunate end Sunday with a breathtaking 10-9 loss to Georgia in the regional final, the Blue Devils likely would never have reached that point if it weren’t for a pair of sparkling performances Saturday from the pitching duo of Peyton St. George and Shelby Walters. In 19 total innings of play across a 1-0 loss to the Bulldogs and a thrilling 4-0 win against Western Kentucky in the longest game in program history, St. George and Walters combined for a stellar 0.37 ERA. It was a fitting end for the star tandem that combined for 37 of Duke’s record 44 victories in 2021.

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After two long years as reigning national champions, Duke women’s golf’s title defense fell just short Tuesday in a hard-fought semifinal loss to Oklahoma State at the NCAA championship. It was not, of course, the end these Blue Devils had dreamed of, but it does mark yet another successful season in what has been nothing short of a dominant era for head coach Dan Brooks’ program. Since 2004, the Blue Devils now have a whopping 14 top 10 finishes at the NCAA championship, tied with Southern California for the most in that period. So while the Blue Devils’ title defense has concluded, their memorable season will still live on as the most recent chapter in a remarkable run of excellence.

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Considering all the excitement in Duke athletics this past week, none of it rivals the introduction of Nina King as the university’s next vice president and athletics director. After 13 years at Duke, King’s hiring is historic as she becomes both the first woman and first person of color to lead Duke’s athletic department. History aside, the future of Duke’s athletics program is in remarkably good hands—King is the perfect person to continue the school’s tradition of athletic excellence, and is sure to do just that when she officially steps into her new role come September.

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