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Sportswrap: Football becomes bowl eligible, soccer teams fall in ACC tournament

Duke football achieved bowl eligibility Friday at Boston College.
Duke football achieved bowl eligibility Friday at Boston College.

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 Oct. 31-Nov. 6.


With their 38-31 win against Boston College, the Blue Devils clinched bowl eligibility for the first time since 2018. The victory came courtesy of a 232-yard effort on the ground, jump-started by an early 60-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback Riley Leonard, his third 50-yard scoring run of the season. The Eagles made a push in the second half, closing gaps of 15 and 17 points, but Duke (6-3, 3-2 in the ACC) kept them at arm's length, never giving up the lead it took about 11 minutes into the matchup. Now, the Blue Devils sit solidly at second in the ACC Coastal Division in head coach Mike Elko’s first season, a miraculous turnaround for the group. They will have a chance to keep that miracle going Saturday, when they welcome a bottom-of-the-Coastal Virginia Tech team to Durham. -Sasha Richie

Women's soccer

The Blue Devils fought until the very end Thursday night in the ACC tournament semifinals against North Carolina. Duke held the Tar Heels to no goals in both halves and in both overtimes, ultimately ending the night in a 0-0 draw. However, the effort on the field, led by a defensive and tactically strong performance, was not enough, as the Blue Devils fell in penalty kicks, 7-6. As it did not advance to the tournament final Sunday afternoon, Duke now waits to hear its seeding in the NCAA tournament at Selection Show Monday, Nov. 7. -Ana Young

Men's soccer

Duke’s remarkable unbeaten run has finally found its end. Under the lights Sunday evening, the first-seeded Blue Devils met their match in Clemson, which outhustled and outplayed head coach John Kerr’s group en route to a commanding 2-0 victory. Top scorer Shakur Mohammed was kept quiet and starved of service throughout 90 minutes and the usually solid midfield duo of Kenan Hot and Peter Stroud struggled to find its footing. The result ends Duke’s hopes of a first ACC tournament title since 2006 and begins the wait for the NCAA tournament, slated to begin later this month. -Andrew Long

Men's basketball

No. 7 Duke gave one last teaser before its season tips off Monday evening, hosting Fayetteville State for a Wednesday exhibition and an 82-45 Blue Devil win. Still, without key freshmen Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead, Duke sped its way through a physical affair with a team-high 17 points from graduate wing Jacob Grandison, eight assists from junior captain Jeremy Roach in the backcourt and an all-around performance by 6-foot-8 freshman Mark Mitchell on both ends of the floor. The wait for head coach Jon Scheyer’s first season is over: The Blue Devils’ next pursuit starts Monday at 7 p.m. against Jacksonville at Cameron Indoor Stadium. -Jonathan Levitan

Women's basketball

While the official season is yet to begin, head coach Kara Lawson’s squad did not disappoint in its debut, blowing out Indiana University of Pennsylvania in a 90-36 exhibition Saturday. While the game stayed relatively close through the first half, Duke pulled away in the latter two quarters, dropping 46 points and holding the Crimson Hawks to just 11 in the second half. Senior guard Celeste Taylor led the offense, scoring 16 points in her 18 minutes on the floor. The Blue Devils will look to open the official season when North Carolina A&T comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium at 11 a.m. Monday. -Martin Heintzelman


Duke split its weekend road matches again, falling to Virginia Tech in four sets (12-25, 20-25, 25-23, 18-25) Friday evening but rejuvenating with a sweep against Wake Forest (25-22, 25-19, 25-20) Sunday afternoon. While a slow offense plagued by unforced errors set Duke (14-11, 5-9) back against the Hokies, the team was redeemed Sunday in part by senior outside hitter Gracie Johnson, who tallied 20 kills and a .447 hitting efficiency after finishing at just .042 Friday. The Blue Devils will be back at home Friday at noon, where they will look for redemption against Boston College after a heartbreaking five-set loss to the Eagles earlier in the season. -Leah Boyd

Field hockey

Duke’s season ended with a loss Tuesday in the ACC quarterfinals against Wake Forest. Despite being outranked, the Blue Devils had a strong start coming out with both the first shot and penalty corner of the game. Neither team scored for much of the first half but Wake Forest was able to convert in the final minute before the break from a penalty corner. While Duke had opportunities to equalize in the fourth quarter, it was unable to convert and lost 1-0 to end its season. -Suresh Kannoth

Swimming and diving

On Friday evening at home in Taishoff Aquatics Pavilion, Duke swept the men and women of South Carolina, with both teams putting on a dominant show on their way to victory. Opening the meet with back-to-back victories and season-bests in both 200-yard medley relays, the momentum only continued for the Blue Devils, who put at least one swimmer or diver on the podium in every event but one. With such a strong start for both the men (2-1) and the women (3-0), Duke will look to keep its momentum strong at the N.C. Invite Nov. 17, where it will face off against some of the best teams in the country, including N.C. State and Stanford. -Babu Chatterjee


The Blue Devils returned to the strip this weekend at the Garret Penn State Open with 12 men and 10 women putting in top-10 performances. Senior co-captain Finn Hossfeld led the way for the men with a second-place finish in the foil. Freshman saberist Justin Morrill also put in an impressive second-place performance in his first meet. For the women, senior saberist Zsofia Walter had the highest finish on the day after tying for third. She was supported with a fifth-place finish by sophomore Rachel Kowalsky in epee and a sixth-place finish by sophomore Catherine Flanagan in the foil. Duke will be back in action Jan. 15 at the Penn State Duals. -Mackenzie Sheehy


While the Halloween season came to an end early in the week, Duke was still in for a spooky surprise at its season opener at the Maryland Duals in College Park, Md. The Blue Devils (1-2) lost to American (21-15) and Maryland (37-0), and defeating Bloomsburg (32-6). Senior heavyweight Jonah Niesenbaum placed second with a 10-5 decision, with freshman Gaetano Console winning against American and Bloomsburg—a solid start to his collegiate career. Next, Duke will not travel far as it will be competing Sunday at the Battle at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. -Nabila Hoque

Women's tennis

While the rest of the Blue Devils were competing at the N.C. State Invite, senior Chloe Beck provided the team's highlight of the weekend in San Diego at the ITA National Fall Championship, where she bounced back from a first-round defeat to win out in the consolation bracket. The final was a rivalry matchup between Beck and North Carolina's Anika Yarlagadda, with the Blue Devil prevailing 6-1, 6-3 to head back to Durham with some hardware. The weekend concludes Duke's fall slate, with the team scheduled to return to the court in the spring. -Levitan

Men's tennis

This week, Duke competed in both the ITA Fall Nationals in San Diego and the Gator Fall Invite in Gainesville, Fla. In San Diego, No. 1-seed Garrett Johns performed remarkably, advancing to the semifinals before falling to No. 4-seed Eliot Spizzirri of Texas in three sets. Seniors Andrew Zhang and Michael Heller competed together in doubles, winning one match before falling to eventual finalists Alexander Jong and Lui Maxted of TCU. Three other Blue Devils competed in Florida: Connor Krug, Jake Krug and Andrew Dale. All three won first-round singles matches in the tournament. This marks the end of the fall season for Duke, which will compete next after winter break. -Ranjan Jindal


Duke began its fall campaign Sunday in the Princeton Three-Mile Chase. The Blue Devils raced five boats in the Women’s Open 8+. Two Duke boats finished in the top 25, with the A boat securing 13th and the B boat coming in 21st. Both broke 17 minutes, with the A Boat notching 16:13.8 for the Blue Devils’ top time of the day. Boats C, E and D  finished in 30th, 32nd and 37th, respectively. Duke has one more regatta on its fall schedule and will travel to the Rivanna Romp Head Race Nov. 13. -Rachael Kaplan


Assistant coaches Ty Blankmeyer and Eric Tyler drafted their teams for the Blue Devils’ intrasquad Fall World Series, played from Thursday to Saturday. Team Blankmeyer took two of three to win the series as the team was led by junior Alex Stone and sophomore Jonathan Santucci to a 4-1 win in the winner-take-all Game 3 as the fall season came to a close. Duke returns to action when its spring season kicks off Feb. 17. -Micah Hurewitz


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