Duke will commence the day with fitness testing before heading to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. to vie for the annual K Cup. Named for Deputy Director of Athletics Chris Kennedy, the K Cup features small-sided scrimmages between four different teams with the winner taking home the coveted trophy.
The Blue Devils, under the direction of fifth-year head coach John Kerr, return five starters from last year's squad that finished 11-8-3 and advanced to the NCAA second round. Senior captain James Belshaw headlines the returning group along with junior captain Sebastien Ibeagha. Both were All-ACC honorees a year ago and will anchor the defense.
Sophomore Nick Palodichuk is back after an outstanding freshman season with eight goals and six assists. He was the lone freshman voted to an All-ACC squad and ranked third among all freshmen nationally in points. Classmate Sean Davis will patrol the midfield for the Blue Devils after missing the first part of his rookie campaign to injury. Jonathan Aguirre, Rob Dolot, Nat Eggleston and Riley Wolfe also return as regular starters from a year ago.
Duke's incoming class of six most recently was tabbed 16th College Soccer News and features a Gatorade National Player of the Year and a transfer from Indiana. Luis Rendon, the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2011, and Solar Chelsea Academy standout Zach Mathers headline the group of five freshmen. Chad Bush, a goalkeeper, comes to the Blue Devils from Ottawa, Canada and the Toronto FC Academy squad, while goalie Wade Clement and local product Ryan Thompson round out the freshmen contingent. Jack Coleman joins the Blue Devils as a sophomore after transferring from Indiana.
The Blue Devils open the season receiving votes in the NSCAA preseason poll. Duke will face three opponents ranked in the preseason top 25.