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Sportswrap: Football drops nail-biter to Notre Dame, men's soccer downs reigning national champion Syracuse

Quarterback Riley Leonard embraces a Notre Dame player before the Saturday night prime-time kickoff.
Quarterback Riley Leonard embraces a Notre Dame player before the Saturday night prime-time kickoff.

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. 25-Oct. 1:


No. 17 Duke came ever so close to knocking off No. 11 Notre Dame in front of a capacity crowd Saturday night at Wallace Wade Stadium, taking a 14-13 lead into the final minute before Sam Hartman and the Fighting Irish drove 95 yards to steal away a 21-14 win. Junior quarterback Riley Leonard, who went 12-for-27 with 134 yards and led the Blue Devils (4-1, 1-0 in the ACC) on the ground with 88 yards, left Brooks Field on crutches after suffering a right ankle injury on Duke’s final offensive snap. While there is no official word on the severity of the injury, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Sunday afternoon that Leonard is expected to miss several weeks with a high ankle sprain, and the program confirmed that the injury is not season-ending. That means that Duke, now down to No. 19 after its first loss since November 2022, will head into the bye week and its subsequent Oct. 14 matchup against N.C. State without its star under center. -Jonathan Levitan

Men’s soccer

It was a two-win week for the 21st-ranked Blue Devils, who played games at home Tuesday and Friday. The first match of the week came against Charleston. While the Cougars led coming into the 81st minute, a late pair of goals from graduate forward Forster Ajago put Duke (6-2-1, 2-2) ahead. The second game of the week, against No. 7 Syracuse, was a roller coaster. The Blue Devils exchanged goals with the Orange before ultimately coming out on the winning end of a 5-3 result. Next week the squad from Durham will head to Indiana to take on Notre Dame Friday. -Martin Heintzelman

Women’s soccer

No. 17 Duke traveled to Charlottesville, Va., this weekend for an ACC clash against Virginia. The contest ended in a 1-1 tie, with the lone Blue Devil tally coming from junior Dieynaba Ndaw. The early second-half goal was the first of her collegiate career, while the contest was her first start. Sophomore Maggie Cagle earned the tally for the Cavaliers mere minutes later. On the defensive end, keeper Leah Freeman had two saves. Duke (5-3-2, 1-1-2) will be on the road once more to take on Pittsburgh Thursday before coming home for the Tobacco Road rivalry against North Carolina Sunday. -Mackenzie Sheehy

Field hockey

No. 4 Duke continued its tear this weekend, shutting out Wake Forest 3-0 Friday and William and Mary 1-0 Sunday to close out its fourth undefeated weekend in a row. Junior midfielder Josephine Palde had the Blue Devils’ only score against the Tribe in the 43rd minute, and goalie Piper Hampsch held on for her fourth solo shutout of the season, a career best. The eight-game win streak is tied for head coach Pam Bustin’s longest, a feat last done in 2016. Against Wake Forest, Duke (10-1, 3-0) scored in three of four quarters, with contributions from prolific sophomore Alaina McVeigh, who also had an assist, junior Kira Curland and senior Charlie van Oirschot. The Blue Devils next travel to Virginia for a Friday evening game against the Cavaliers and a Sunday afternoon matchup against James Madison, looking to add two more tallies to the win column. -Audrey Davies


The Blue Devils began to struggle in ACC play this week as they lost two games on the road. Facing Miami on Friday, Duke (10-5, 1-3) fell in four sets 3-1, to the Hurricanes. Gracie Johnson and Emma Worthington were both bright spots Friday as Johnson recorded 10 kills and Worthington received 42 assists. Duke failed to rebound from its second ACC loss on the season, falling to Florida State Sunday afternoon 3-2. After coming back from a two-set deficit and forcing the matchup to a tiebreak set, the Blue Devils didn’t capture the final set, losing 15-8. Duke returns home next weekend to face more ACC opponents in Notre Dame and Louisville. - Anna Newberry


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