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Blue Devils cruise in final exhibition

(08/31/09 8:00am)

The last game of Duke’s preseason showed promise, but also highlighted some of the team’s flaws. The Blue Devils’ 4-0 rout of Greensboro College Saturday night started slowly and finished late with offensive fireworks. But issues that will need to be worked out in the coming weeks--such as a refusal to work through the midfield and poor ball possession--were seen. Still, though, the Division-III Pride were noticably outmatched. Duke gained an opportunity to prepare for the regular season and give some players time on the field. “It was a tune up for our game on Tuesday,” Kerr said. “It was a last effort to get the speed of play up and going.” Three second-half goals displayed the Blue Devils’ ability to finish, albeit not in the cleanest fashion. Freshman forward Ryan Finley commenced the offensive surge with his breakaway goal in the 49th minute, followed closely by sophomore transfer Ryan Ruffing’s finish two minutes later. However, those goals were the outcome of shoddy Greensboro defense, rather than sparkling Duke offense. Kerr was satisfied by the performance, but realizes it has room for improvement. “We weren’t as sharp as we need to be for Tuesday,” Kerr said. “If we approach Tuesday’s game like this we might have more problems.” Perhaps the biggest gain from the exhibition was the display of new talent. Along with Finley and Ruffing, freshmen goalkeeper James Belishaw showed his ability to play at the college level. Kerr mentioned his “world-class” save in the first half as the standout moment of the game. Especially given the strong performances by the new players, the Blue Devils have a lot to look forward to in the season opener Tuesday.