Devil's in the details: Duke's spring sports season primed for success with numerous national accolades

John Danowski's men's lacrosse team is ranked No. 2 by USA Lacrosse.
John Danowski's men's lacrosse team is ranked No. 2 by USA Lacrosse.

They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details — and numbers:


Duke men’s lacrosse landed the second spot in USA Lacrosse’s preseason rankings, behind reigning national champions Notre Dame. After falling to the Fighting Irish in the NCAA championship game, the ranking makes sense. However, the Blue Devil faithful can be assured head coach John Danowski’s squad will do their best in search of their first championship in 10 years. The hunt will be led by all-world attackman Brennan O’Neill. O’Neill quite literally is all-world, having earned MVP of last year’s World Men's Lacrosse Championship as the youngest player to take home a gold medal with Team USA. As with any great team, Duke isn’t solely reliant on its star. Kenny Brower and Jake Naso landed on USA Lacrosse Magazine’s first-team All-American list, and the trio of Tyler Carpenter, Dyson Williams and Josh Zawada round out a top-end of talent that can and will go head-to-head with anyone in the sport. 


Four members of Duke softball earned rankings in Softball America’s preseason top 100 players list. Junior Ana Gold took home the 37th spot, while Cassidy Curd, D’Auna Jennings and Aminah Vega placed 44th, 51st and 79th, respectively. Additionally, Duke was ranked No. 9 in the country by Softball America, and is geared up to make a run towards its first Women’s College World Series.


Perfect Game ranked five Blue Devils as preseason top 75 players in their grades. Left-handed pitcher Kyle Johnson was named the 43rd best freshman in the country and sophomore hurlers James Tallon and Aidan Weaver earned the 65th and 67th spots, respectively. Junior pitchers Jonathan Santucci and Fran Oschell III took home the 17th and 41st spots in the class of 2025, and will be a lethal duo on the mound for Duke this year. These accolades for five pitchers before the season is a good omen for the Blue Devils’ chances to make another long postseason run this year, and a troublesome sign for the rest of the ACC. 


No. 8 Duke men’s tennis’s record climbs to an undefeated 3-0 mark after taking down Princeton and N.C. Central this weekend with score lines of 4-3 and 7-0. Freshman Alexander Visser took down Princeton’s Aleksander Mitrio for his first collegiate win in two sets. Visser’s decisive win turned out pivotal for the Blue Devils’ eventual victory. Up next for Duke is the ITA Kickoff with an opening match against N.C. State, followed by a faceoff with either California or Middle Tennessee State. 


Women’s tennis head coach Jamie Ashworth won his 600th match with the Blue Devils as Duke took down Illinois 4-2 this past weekend. The win total was another milestone in a long line of successes during Ashworth’s decorated tenure; he was appointed to the job in 1997, and has led the team to 24 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a national championship in 2009. The four-time ACC Coach of the Year’s team is looking to add another deep run to the program’s storied history this year. The team is currently ranked No. 15 in the country by ITA, and is undefeated thus far. Freshman Shavit Kimchi took home the ACC Freshman of the Week award for her performances against N.C. Central, Charlotte and Illinois, and will be pivotal to this year’s successes. Up next is the ITA Kickoff Weekend, where Ashworth and the Blue Devils will face off against Princeton first.


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