DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke men’s lacrosse team will open the 2018 season as the nation’s top ranked team according to Inside Lacrosse’s Face-Off Yearbook Preseason Top 25 poll. The Blue Devils edged out Albany for the No. 1 spot, while Albany, Yale, Maryland and Denver round out the top five.
Duke returns in 2018 after posting a 13-5 overall record and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals before losing to eventual NCAA runner-up Ohio State. The Blue Devils welcome back a wealth of talent from last year’s squad, including 10 of the top 11 scorers from the year. Defensively, Duke welcomes back the core of one of the nation’s top defenses from a year ago, including returning All-American Cade Van Raaphorst and goalie Danny Fowler.
Senior Justin Guterding will headline the offense as he tries to reach the 300-point career benchmark. A USILA All-America second team pick, Guterding was one of the country’s top scoring attackman last season with 97 points from 56 goals and 41 assists. Junior midfielder Brad Smith will lead the midfield after his All-American sophomore campaign in which he scored 20 goals and had 19 assists. Returning sophomores Joey Manown, Kevin Quigley, Reilly Walsh will be looked to for even stronger performances after solid rookie seasons.
Fifth-year senior Danny Fowler is back in goal after garnering All-ACC and All-American praise, while Van Raaphorst and junior JT Giles-Harris will be the leaders on the close defense. Sean Cerrone is undoubtedly the leader in the defensive midfield as Duke looks to fill the holes left by Tommy Zenker and Garrett Van de Ven.
A host of talented freshmen join the Blue Devils in 2018 with a few expected to have a large impact on the success of the Blue Devils.
Duke opens the season Feb. 3 against Air Force Academy in Durham. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m., at Koskinen Stadium. The full 2018 schedule will be released next week.