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Sportswrap: Football secures bowl eligibility on last-second field goal, basketballs dominate in exhibitions

Sophomore kicker Todd Pelino celebrates with his team after sealing a win against Wake Forest.
Sophomore kicker Todd Pelino celebrates with his team after sealing a win against Wake Forest.

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. 30-Nov. 5:


Following two straight road losses, Duke returned home and defeated Wake Forest 24-21 Thursday night to officially clinch bowl eligibility. Freshman quarterback Grayson Loftis started the game after both junior Riley Leonard and redshirt freshman Henry Belin IV were confirmed out with injuries. Sophomore kicker Todd Pelino hit the game-winning 26-yard field goal following a key Blue Devil interception. On the ground, running backs Jordan Waters and Jaquez Moore both had 76 rushing yards and a touchdown. Duke’s defense continued to force turnovers with two on the night, and Demon Deacon kicker Matthew Dennis missed a pair of crucial field goals. The Blue Devils (6-3, 3-2 in the ACC) next travel to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina Saturday night. -Ranjan Jindal 

Men’s basketball

After months of anticipation, No. 2 Duke returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium in style Wednesday night as it trounced UNC Pembroke 109-64 in an exhibition matchup. All five Blue Devil starters earned double-digit points, led by sophomore phenom Kyle Filipowski with 17. Sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor was on fire as well, draining five threes to go 62.5% from beyond the arc. Duke also saw eight players come off the bench in a show of the team’s wealth of talent and depth, headlined by freshman Sean Stewart with 12 points. Next up, the Blue Devils welcome Dartmouth to Durham Monday night for its first matchup of the regular season. -Mackenzie Sheehy

Women’s basketball

While the regular season did not officially commence this week, the Blue Devils played in a warm-up game against Division II opponent Wingate. It was a fairly straightforward matchup for the hosts, who blew out the Bulldogs 106-33 Saturday afternoon. The shining star of the game was freshman combo guard Jadyn Donovan, who dropped 20 points along with two blocks and a steal. Now with the preseason complete, Duke will launch into its regular season schedule Monday at 11 a.m. against Richmond. After that, the Blue Devils will play another nonconference game against Coastal Carolina before scrimmaging the USA basketball team Sunday afternoon. -Martin Heintzelman

Field hockey

In a heartbreaking loss Friday night, No. 3 Duke fell to No. 2 North Carolina in the ACC Championship game after defeats of Wake Forest and No. 10 Louisville in the lead-up. Beating Wake Forest 2-0 Tuesday afternoon and 1-0 against Louisville Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Devils (16-4, 5-1) not only secured their chance at redemption against the Tar Heels but recorded their seventh and eighth shutouts of the season. This was Duke’s first appearance in the ACC title game since 2011. However, after remaining scoreless in the first half, a beautiful goal by sophomore Ryleigh Heck gave the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead off a penalty corner. A goal just six minutes later by freshman Charly Bruder solidified the Tar Heels’ 2-0 win as they outshot Duke 12 to seven. While a stinging end to their ACC competition, the Blue Devils will continue postseason play in the NCAA tournament later this month, where they first take on Liberty as a No. 3-seed. -Anna Newberry

Men’s soccer

The ACC tournament began and ended for Duke this week. On Wednesday, the Blue Devils sent Boston College packing out of Koskinen Stadium after a 3-2 matchup that handily gave the Blue Devils their ticket to the conference quarterfinals. On Sunday night, however, the script flipped. A long battle at Clemson saw two overtimes and a penalty shootout that the Tigers ultimately won after Duke missed two crucial kicks. Despite the unhappy ending for the Blue Devils, the match exhibited a testament to their persistence — on top of 110 minutes of energetic, brutal soccer, they came back from two disadvantages even when fighting against time. Duke’s last chance to see the pitch comes when the NCAA tournament rolls around, starting Nov. 13. -Sophie Levenson


Duke extended its win streak to five this weekend with wins against both Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. In the 3-1 win against the Demon Deacons Friday evening, graduate student Gracie Johnson became the 13th player in program history to collect both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. A testament to her ability as an all-around player, Johnson racked up 20 kills, 14 digs and two aces against Wake Forest. In a Sunday matinee, The Blue Devils (17-8, 8-6) advanced their conference record to 8-6 with a straight-set win against the Hokies 3-0. Duke was led in kills by sophomore Kerry Keefe who registered 14 kills and nine digs. Headed on the road, the Blue Devils continue conference play as they face Louisville and Virginia this week. -Newberry 

Swimming and diving

Duke traveled to Raleigh Friday for a tri-meet against N.C. State and Georgia. Coming in as the underdog, the Blue Devils were unable to pull off an upset against the higher-ranked programs. Nonetheless, the women’s team was able to string together several strong performances in the 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard breaststroke and 100-yard butterfly. The men’s team also rallied to overcome a comparative lack of roster depth to challenge its competitors in the 200-yard free. The evening saw particularly standout performances from ACC Diver of the Week Margo O’Meara and sophomore Martina Peroni, who placed first in the women’s 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:58.30. The Blue Devils will have a second chance at success in two weeks at the Wolfpack Invitational. -Emily Wang


Duke picked up only two victories in 30 total matches in a rough West Coast trip. The season opened Friday with tough losses to No. 15 Rutgers (47-0) and Cal Poly (38-6). Freshman Aidan Wallace picked up his first career victory at 165, defeating the Mustangs’ Michael Goldfeder 8-5. Heavyweight captain Connor Barket also defeated Cal Poly’s Joshua Harkey 12-7. The road trip worsened Saturday, as the Blue Devils (0-3) lost 41-0 to Stanford in its outdoor stadium; the team suffered six falls against the Cardinals. Duke hopes to shape up this week back on the East Coast, with three duals scheduled in Morgantown, W.Va., against Kent State, Cleveland State and West Virginia. -Luke Jovanovic


No. 9 Duke kicked off its 2023-24 season this weekend in Philadelphia at the Temple Open. The highlight of the meet was co-captain Christina Ferrari’s dominant performance in women’s foil. Ferrari took home the gold for the Blue Devils following a tight 15-13 victory against Sabrina Cho of Penn. Saturday also saw two impressive second place finishes from new fencers Vanessa Lin and Natalie Olsen in women’s epee and women’s saber, respectively. Junior Allen Marakov fell 15-11 in the finals of men’s epee to secure another silver medal for the team. The Blue Devils look to carry the momentum from this weekend into the Elite Invitational on November 19 in Columbus, Ohio. -Wang

Men’s tennis

This week, Duke competed in the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego and the Wake Forest Invite in Winston Salem, N.C. Graduate students Michael Heller and Andrew Zhang were the only Blue Devils represented at the ITA Nationals as the team’s best doubles tandem. Zhang and Heller fell in the first round to Pacific’s Peter Alam and Justas Trainauskas 6-3, 6-4. However, they bounced back to win two consolation matches, defeating UAB and Ole Miss before falling in the consolation semifinals 6-4, 6-2 to Jay Friend and Colton Smith of Arizona. Six Blue Devils are competing at Wake Forest this weekend to conclude the fall season, including junior Jake Krug who had two wins Saturday. -Jindal 

Men’s golf

The Blue Devils concluded their fall slate with another top-five showing at the Cal Poly Invitational in Carmel, Calif., this week with a 9-under 855. The second round took until a second day following a darkness-induced hiatus, but junior Luke Sample picked up right where he left off with an immediate birdie en route to a ninth-place finish by the conclusion of the event, his third top-10 placement of the fall. Freshman Bryan Kim wrapped up the invitational under par as well, finishing 15th. Duke now has a long period off the course to prepare for the spring season, when it takes on The Prestige in La Quinta, Calif., in February. -Andrew Long

Women’s golf

Like the men, the Blue Devil women also concluded their fall campaign this week at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., Duke rallied on the final day to win the event at a 17-under 271, tying a school record in the process. All six golfers shot under par Sunday, headlined by Anne Chen (8-under), Phoebe Brinker (4-under) and Emma McMyler (3-under), resulting in the come-from-behind win. The Blue Devils next take the course in February at the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne, Fla. -Long


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