They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.
A simple number at first glance, but it’s that simplicity that gives it its value. Zero is the number of goals that the men's soccer team has allowed from the opposition in their first two games. It becomes even more impressive when you consider that they have already scored an astounding seven goals, making their goal differential an even seven, tied for the highest in the ACC. There are no other teams in the conference doing it on both ends like them. Their seven goals and six assists tie for third in the conference while being one of two teams to hold their opponents scoreless. Two games is a small sample size, but Duke’s strong start should be noted, as it is already helping them climb the conference rankings after a disappointing 4-10-3 season last year. The coaches are clearly impressed, as Duke now finds themselves at No. 24 on the United Soccer Coaches Poll after being unranked to start the season. These could be the seeds of an outstanding season to come. Watch out for the Blue Devils.
Duke’s field hockey team may not be as dazzling to start the season as others, but they too have their bright spots to acknowledge. Although they have been outscored 1-3 in the first couple of games, goalie Piper Hampsch has had nine saves in the same period. This is two more than the seven opponents have made on them and emphasizes the effort the entire team puts into defending their goal. If the team can keep up this defensive momentum, moving forward, teams could have a hard time scoring on them. If they can up their offense and increase their scoring while stifling the opponent near the goal, the wins will start to rack up. Their next game is Friday against a Northwestern team that has taken 34 shots in two games, 25 being shots on goal, so, to win that game, they’ll likely need more of the solid performances Hampsch has turned in so far.
Duke’s third undefeated team and latest winners as of Tuesday, winning 3-0 against Elon, Duke volleyball has also impressed as of late, and the most impressive aspect of this team so far is how effective they are with their serves. Service aces are awarded when a team earns a point off a serve, and Duke has had 25 over the first three games, ranking second in the ACC. If you opt to go by averages, the Blue Devils have played 13 sets thus far, giving them an average ace per set of 1.92, which is still good enough for top four in the conference. Service aces are fairly rare in the midst of a set, so such a high total is stellar and an indication of an elite team. Through just three games they are already about a quarter through their total from last year of 102 when their aces per set was just 1.2. This is one of the many reasons to be optimistic about the team turning things around this year following a 9-13 season last year, so expect the Blue Devils to be ready to make their mark on the volleyball court as the season progresses.
There’s been another spectacular soccer start on campus in the No. 5 ranked women’s soccer team. They are just as impressive as any team in the nation, getting off to a 4-0 start and scoring 13 to their opponents' two. Through all these stunning stats one could choose from, the most glaring of all may be one that isn’t as indicative of a team’s success but rather their tendencies. In just four games, the Blue Devils have had 33 corner kicks, or 8.25 per game, the latter stat being tied for 16th in the nation and third in the ACC. Well, what does this mean? Although corner kicks can very easily be countered, they are nonetheless still a great opportunity to get a shot on goal, and the Blue Devils have had 33 corners compared to their opponent’s meager six. That is 27 more chances to get a shot in their opponent’s penalty area. This notable difference may contribute to the 19.8 to 4.2 ratio of Duke’s shots per game to their opponents'. A high volume of corner shots doesn’t always correlate to dominance, but so far it has been a highlight of a very dominant Duke women’s soccer team.
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