DURHAM, N.C.—Duke junior Daniele Proch headlines a quartet of Blue Devils named to the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Men’s All-South Region as announced Tuesday by the association. Proch garnered first-team recognition, while Issa Rayyan was named to the second team and Will Pulisic and Brandon Williamson to the third.
Proch garners his first All-South Region honor after leading the Blue Devils in scoring with 11 goals and four assists for 26 points. He most recently was named a Hermann Trophy semifinalist, the first for Duke since Andrew Wenger won the coveted award in 2011.
In only his second season as a Blue Devil, Proch was named to the All-ACC first team this year, Duke’s first such honoree since 2015. Proch, a native of Italy, got off to a hot start with five goals in his first three games, matching his total from 20 games in 2017.
He continued to score for the Blue Devils, tallying a goal in six of seven games in the middle of the season. Possessing great instincts on the field overall, he also dished out both assists in Duke’s 2-0 road win over Virginia Tech. His 26 points were the most by a Blue Devil since 2011 Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Wenger had 42.
For his career at Duke, Proch has played in 40 games with 37 starting assignments. He owns 16 goals and 38 points in those contests.
Rayyan, the ACC Rookie of the Year, had a breakout freshman campaign, scoring six goals and three assists to rank second on the team with 15 points. A product of the Philadelphia Union Academy, Rayyan’s 15 points are the most by a Blue Devil freshman since Brody Huitema had 16 in 2013. He started 19 of the 20 games as a winger and regularly gave opposing defenses fits around the goal. The Michigan native really started to hit his stride at the end of the season scoring five goals in the final seven games of the year, including both in a 2-0 road win at Virginia Tech and the tally versus North Carolina in the ACC semifinal.
Duke’s leader from the back, Pulisic picks up his first All-Region honor after anchoring the defense. A two-time All-ACC honoree, garnering second team recognition in 2018, Pulisic finished the season with a 1.18 goals against average and a .692 save percentage. He helped Duke post six shutouts in playing all but 10 minutes this season. With Pulisic leading from the back, the Blue Devils allowed just 10 shots per game and only four on frame. Pulisic was the hero of the ACC quarterfinal when he stopped Pitt’s final two penalty kicks and converted his own shot from the spot to lead Duke to the 4-3 victory in the shootout to remain alive in the ACC Tournament.
The engine in Duke’s midfield, Williamson made Duke go en route to earning All-ACC second team honors. Intelligent on the ball and possessing a tireless work ethic, he was instrumental in the Blue Devils maintaining possession in the middle of the field. His creative spark and ability to beat defenders gives opponents fits in all thirds. Williamson, additionally, has a great strike when given space and registered a goal and an assist this season. He went the distance in 15 of the 18 games he played in 2018.
The Blue Devils finished the year with an 11-7-2 overall record and advanced to the NCAA third round. Duke earned the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year and advanced to the ACC Semifinals after finishing third in the regular season standings.