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The confluence of football and basketball seasons began this weekend as eager parents congregated in Cameron Indoor to watch the Blue-White basketball game while the gridiron Blue Devils were pounded by Vanderbilt in Wallace Wade.

The Blue-White game was as newsworthy as its ever been because of the sheer uncertainty surrounding this year’s squad. And the leading news was the performance of freshman center Brian Zoubek, who poured in 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting.

TDD posters in attendance have provided mixed reviews on the performance of Josh McRoberts, DeMarcus Nelson and others. But all attest that which we’ve all anticipated–this Duke team is athletic, and is going to attempt to capitalize on that as best it can by pushing the ball up the floor on offense, and by playing the high-pressure defense that Duke has arguably been a little less proficient at in recent years due to a lack of lateral quickness.

Regardless, this squad is very much a work in progress. The inconsistency will be more severe than fans have grown accustomed to, and patience will be required as Duke finds its way. Either way, Coach K’s excited for the process:

It’s going to be fun trying to see how we put this whole damn thing together. I’m excited about it. We haven’t had to do this for a while, and it’s good.

Despite assigning a spy to contain quarterback Chris Nickson, the Blue Devil football team had a helluva time slowing the shifty dual threat, as he compiled 400 yards of total offense –250 in the air, 150 on the ground–en route to a 45-28 victory.

Nickson’s a future star in the SEC, but is very much an imperfect player. But Duke didn’t come out with the certitude it did a week ago when it nearly upset an arguably superior team. And it has been that inconsistency that has bedeviled Duke’s players, coaches and supporters alike. Time is running out for the Blue Devils to pick up their first win of the season.

And the media scrutiny will only get worse. Duke now has the most-prolonged losing streak in the nation because the Temple Owls cruised past Bowling Green on Saturday.

Head coach Ted Roof shares everyone’s disappointment:

It’s disappointing certainly. This is not how we expect to play. This is not how we prepare to play. We gave up way too many yards after missed tackles…. That game came down to our not tackling very well.

The women’s cross country team, which had been one of the nation’s best the past two seasons, has been trying to find its identity after having graduated a bevy of talented seniors. Duke took a big step Saturday by placing second in the uber-competitive ACC Championships, in which eight-ranked teams competed.

The Blue Devils probably do not have the legs to finish as well as they had in 2004 and 2005, but Duke is very much back in a position to make some noise at the NCAAs.

The men’s squad came in right behind Virginia in the men’s championships, near the middle of the pack.

The No. 4 field hockey team downed Virginia in its regular season finale. Duke, which has advanced to the national championship game for three consecutive seasons, will face its steepest competitors at the upcoming ACC Championships, where Wake Forest, Maryland and North Carolina await. Each is capable of winning the national title–and each has at least one championship in the past decade, except Duke.


Whenever Duke beats UNC, it’s good news. When it comes for a men’s soccer team ranked fifth in the nation, it’s all the better.

The men’s soccer team, which won its first and only national championship 20 years ago by downing the Akron Zips, is poised to make another run to the Final Four.


Sparked by a loud and boisterous crowd of 6,549, the Blue Devils pressured the Tar Heels in the early going. After a Duke corner in the ninth minute, the Blue Devils’ Zach Pope sent a cross into the box that was redirected into the UNC net by Odgers.

UNC also allowed an own goal in its 1-0 loss to Campbell 10 days ago.

“The ball hit my leg and went in the goal,” Odgers said.

The Blue Devils have now won five consecutive games since a 1-0 loss to Maryland on Sept. 29. They have a half-game lead over Virginia for first place in the rigorous ACC with one game remaining against Clemson.

“We’re where we want to be,” head coach John Rennie said. “We just have to keep going.”

Huge game for the men’s soccer team.

Duke can win the ACC crown with a victory tonight.

The 2006 edition of the rivalry pits the fifth-ranked Blue Devils (11-2-1, 4-1-1 ACC) against the struggling No. 21 Tar Heels (10-4-2, 2-3-1). After a quick start to the season and a national No. 1 ranking, North Carolina has yet to win in four October matches. The Tar Heels are coming off back-to-back 1-0 losses to Campbell and No. 3 Wake Forest.

“You’re kind of afraid that they’re coming here with a chip on their shoulder,” head coach John Rennie said. “They want to prove the last couple weeks have been abnormal. They’ve had a full week to recover, so I’m sure they’ll be refreshed and ready. They’re not happy being 2-3-1 when they were preseason favorites [to win the conference]. The odds are it’s going to be another hotly contested, close game.”

Since 1994, the Duke women’s soccer team has upended North Carolina just once. That victory came one year ago, at the feet of a senior-heavy Duke squad infused with terrific team speed.

It takes a near-perfect game to beat the Tar Heels in women’s soccer. Their head coach Anson Dorrance has built that program into the nation’s benchmark.

And for the Blue Devils, there’s nothing finer than downing Carolina.

Hope you can make it out to Koskinen on Sunday to take in the game.

This is just unbelievable. Great story from The Chronicle.

Duke cheers must have drowned out sighs of relief when Christie McDonald nailed a header past Marquette’s goalkeeper on a sunny afternoon Sept. 17.

Congratulating the smiling sophomore with a flurry of hugs and high fives, the Blue Devils gathered around the girl that some people thought would never have the chance to score a goal again, let alone with her head.

Anyone in Koskinen Stadium that day who knew McDonald personally also knew that just four months earlier she was lying in a hospital bed in Los Angeles, surrounded by an altogether different kind of team.

Diagnosed with a brain tumor at the end of April, McDonald underwent surgery May 12 to remove a sticky, 1.5-centimeter lump from the left side of her brain.

After four hours of surgery, the benign tumor was removed. But because of necessary surgical procedures, so were McDonald’s auditory and balance nerves. At 19 years old, the varsity athlete was without a sense of balance and the ability to hear in her left ear. But that didn’t stop her from working to get back on the field.

McDonald had felt that way all along-get the tumor removed and get back to soccer. And after spending the second summer session on campus training to regain her strength and coordination, that’s exactly what she did-the sophomore started Duke’s opener against St. Louis and has played in every game on the schedule so far.

“It was really hard for me to get back, harder than I was expecting,” McDonald said. “Everything I had gone through was to play this season, so it was just one of the most amazing feelings to be back with my team and be able to play again. It was great.”

Go read the whole thing. You won’t regret it.