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Sportswrap: football fights off North Carolina A&T, men's soccer upsets Virginia Tech

Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg threw for 270 yards on a 74.1% completion rate.
Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg threw for 270 yards on a 74.1% completion rate.

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. Here’s our recap for the week of Sept. 6-Sept. 12.

Football

It may not have had all the makings of a blowout victory from the very beginning, but Duke dominated North Carolina A&T 45-17 Friday evening in its first home game of the 2021 season. The biggest offensive standout was quarterback Gunnar Holmberg, who logged 270 passing yards with a 74.1% completion rate. Holmberg ran in a pair of touchdowns too, and between his consistency and head coach David Cutcliffe’s aggressive mindset heading into the game, the Blue Devils (1-1) took a respectable leap in improvement from Week One to Week Two. Up next is Northwestern at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday. -Jake Piazza

Women’s soccer

The fifth-ranked Blue Devils came into the week’s matchup against East Carolina well-rested and ready to go, and it certainly showed, as two Duke goals in the first 10 minutes quickly put this one out of reach for the Pirates. The win completed the Blue Devil’s nonconference slate of games, where they finished with a 6-0-0 record—the first time in program history Duke has completed its nonconference schedule with zero losses and zero ties. But the hardest tests are yet to come, and they start on Friday, when the Blue Devils travel to No. 2 North Carolina. -Jonathan Browning

Men’s soccer

After dropping a hard-fought 1-0 double-overtime loss Monday to Seattle, the 19th-ranked Blue Devils came back ready to fight Saturday in their first ACC matchup against No. 6 Virginia Tech. Duke (4-1, 1-0 in the ACC) bested the Hokies 1-0 and proved its ability to compete with the best teams in the nation, outshooting Virginia Tech 19-11 (9-5 on goal). The story of the season, however, has been defense. Between goaltender Eliot Hamill, who put up a career-best eight saves against Seattle, and the backline, the Blue Devils have given up just one goal this season. -Sasha Richie

Field hockey 

The 18th-ranked Blue Devils took a trip to New Jersey over the weekend, and came back to Durham with a 3-1 victory in their pocket against No. 13 Princeton. Leah Crouse, Lexi Davidson and Eva Nunnink each scored a goal for Duke (2-3), and the ever-reliable Piper Hampsch added nine saves on 20 shot attempts. This past game marked a dramatic turnaround for the Blue Devils after their 0-2 showing the previous weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a better time with No. 14 Wake Forest coming to Durham Friday for Duke’s first ACC match. -Piazza

Volleyball 

The Blue Devils lost their first two games of the season this past weekend after falling 2-3 to Michigan and 0-3 to North Carolina at the Big 10 ACC Challenge. As a team, Duke struggled to succeed offensively with hitting percentages of 0.095 and 0.195 in the respective matches. Payton Schwantz led offensively against Michigan with 12 kills, while Ade Owokinaron had 15 kills in the match against the Tar Heels. Additionally, Alex Springate reached 1,000 career assists against the Tar Heels, which ranks her at 15th on Duke’s career charts. The Blue Devils take on North Carolina Central Friday. -Olivia Wivestad

Men’s golf

Duke took third place this past weekend at the Rod Myers Invitational at the Duke University Golf Club, the only tournament the Blue Devils will host this year. Sophomores Jimmy Zheng and Ian Siebers led the way with a tie for third place and a tie for eighth place on the individual leaderboard, respectively, while freshmen Kelly Chinn, Luke Sample and John Peters rounded out Duke’s top five in a tie for 23rd, a tie for 41st and a tie for 58th, respectively. Next, the Blue Devils travel to nearby Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Old Town Club Collegiate Sept. 27-28. -Evan Kolin


Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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