Sportswrap: Football takes on spring game, men's tennis bows out of ACC tournament at semifinals

Maalik Murphy winds up before a throw during Duke's spring game.
Maalik Murphy winds up before a throw during Duke's spring game.

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 April 15-21:


Duke concluded its spring practice schedule with the Blue vs. White game Saturday, as the defense triumphed 21-16 over the offense. Texas transfer Maalik Murphy made his on-field debut for the Blue Devils, highlighted by a touchdown toss to senior wideout Jordan Moore. However, Murphy’s performance could not fully be measured because of a lack of depth on the offensive line. Duke had just five linemen dress for the spring game, so about half of the offensive series were run with a coach snapping the ball. That should improve as the Blue Devils welcome some key transfers and incoming freshmen to campus, and the roster will have plenty of time to earn reps together over the summer. Head coach Manny Diaz will continue to implement his new system, centered around aggression and chunk plays, ahead of the season opener Aug. 30 against Elon. -Dom Fenoglio


It was a grueling week for the sixth-ranked Blue Devils, who snuck out with a win against Gardner-Webb Tuesday before splitting a pair of games in extra innings against Virginia Tech. Duke (29-11, 13-8 in the ACC) finished out the series strong Sunday, prevailing 13-10 against the Hokies off a pair of home runs in the ninth inning. Head coach Chris Pollard sent 13 different hurlers to the mound in the final game of the series, as both teams saw their bats explode. That said, there will not be much time to rest as Duke gears up to take on a solid Campbell squad Tuesday before a weekend trip to Florida State. -Martin Heintzelman


No. 3 Duke lost its first series of the season, dropping a doubleheader to Virginia Saturday. The Cavaliers won a pair of one-run games on the day, and pitching was great from both sides. In the first game, the Blue Devils (39-6, 17-4 in the ACC) had a chance to win in the seventh inning as they loaded the bases with one out, but could not convert on the opportunity. Similarly, Duke sophomore D’Auna Jennings was on base in the final frame of the second double-header game, but she was unable to come home as Virginia clinched. On Friday, the Blue Devils had an exciting finish as redshirt-sophomore Jada Baker hit a sacrifice bunt leading to a throwing error from the Cavaliers. This gave Duke the lone run of the game, all the way in the 12th inning. The Blue Devils now face two nonconference home games before the final regular-season series against N.C. State.  -Ranjan Jindal

Men’s tennis

In an action-packed weekend, No. 4-seed Duke picked up a victory against rival North Carolina in the ACC tournament quarterfinal, but ultimately fell the next day to top-seeded Virginia. Against the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils fired on all cylinders, sweeping North Carolina 4-0 amidst strong singles performances from Garrett Johns, Pedro Rodenas and Alexander Visser. The next day, Duke looked to exorcize its demons against Virginia who bounced the Blue Devils from last year’s ACC and NCAA tournaments. However, a strong start in doubles would not carry over to singles as the Cavaliers came out on top 4-1. Duke now turns the page to the NCAA tournament, where they will find out their first round matchup in the coming week. -Garrett Spooner

Women’s tennis

The eighth-seeded Blue Devils traveled to Cary, N.C., this week to compete in the ACC tournament that started Wednesday. After receiving a first-round bye, Duke faced Wake Forest Thursday afternoon and swiftly defeated it 4-0 after cruising to a doubles point victory. The Blue Devils didn’t drop a single set across all courts. The next day was a different story, though, as Duke faced No. 1-seed North Carolina. Despite putting up a fight to open singles and winning two out of the first six sets, Duke ultimately fell 4-0 to the Tar Heels. The loss marked the conclusion of the ACC tournament for Duke, which now awaits selection for the NCAA tournament Monday. -Anna Newberry

Women’s lacrosse

No. 25 Duke ended its regular season on a sour note, falling to No. 15 North Carolina 16-11 without star senior attacker Katie DeSimone. The Blue Devils (10-7, 4-5) found themselves down early but fought back to cut their deficit to one entering the halftime break. However, the offense couldn’t sustain its second-quarter push, succumbing to the Tar Heels’ eight different scorers. Junior attacker Carly Bernstein paced the trip to Chapel Hill with a career-high five goals, but Duke’s 17 turnovers proved its kryptonite. It earned the No. 6-seed in the ACC tournament and a first-round bye, and will face No. 3-seed Boston College Wednesday in the quarterfinals in Charlotte. -Rachael Kaplan

Track and field

Head coach Shawn Wilbourn sent a small but mighty contingent of Blue Devils over to Winston Salem, N.C., for the Wake Forest Invitational Friday. The group shone all over the women’s events and in the men’s field events, with 16 women placing in the top five of their respective competitions. The only Blue Devils who outright won their events, however, were freshmen. Gemma Tutton finished first in the women’s pole vault among college competitors (second overall, but behind an independent non-student vaulter). Christian Toro, meanwhile, dominated the men’s hammer throw. And in a big day for program history, junior Beck Wittstadt reset the men’s 800m record. The Blue Devils will reconvene starting Thursday for the Penn Relays. -Sophie Levenson

Men’s golf

The Blue Devils took on the ACC tournament this weekend in Charlotte but fell just short of the qualifying mark for the semifinals with a sixth-place finish amongst the 12-team field. Duke, which finished 12 strokes back from victors North Carolina and just three shy of fifth-placed Virginia, was led by William Love in 12th place with an aggregate 3-under across three rounds of play, followed closely by Luke Sample and Ethan Evans, each at 2-under. The Blue Devils now have eyes toward the NCAA Regional in mid-May ahead of the later NCAA Championships. -Andrew Long

Women’s golf

Duke’s ACC tournament run ended early, as the Blue Devils finished fifth in stroke play — one place short of semifinals qualification. Although Duke had some strong showings over the competition — like freshman Katie Li’s 5-under on the third day and sophomore Andie Smith’s combined -4 across the latter two of three rounds — such highlights were insufficient to pull the Blue Devils out of a hole dug on days one and two. Next up for Duke is the NCAA selection show Wednesday, with the championship taking place May 17-22 in Carlsbad, Calif. -Ryan Kilgallen


Duke rowers traveled to Sarasota, Fla., this weekend to compete at the Big Ten Invitational against 17 other teams. The Blue Devils tallied several successful races over the two-day meet. The 3V8 boat took home a first-place finish Friday with a time of 6:46.804. The 2V4 and V4 boats totaled three second-place finishes between them, while the V8 and 2V8 each captured third. Duke also managed to power past a number of highly-ranked boats on its way to the finish lines, including No. 12 Ohio State, No. 13 Rutgers and No. 16 Indiana. The Blue Devils return home this week to co-host the Lake Wheeler Invitational with North Carolina Friday and Saturday. -Abby DiSalvo


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