DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University senior Cade Van Raaphorst and junior JT Giles-Harris lead the way for the Blue Devils on the 2019 USILA All-America teams, garnering first team recognition, as announced Thursday. Joining Duke’s defensive tandem as All-America choices are Brad Smith, Nakeie Montgomery and John Prendergast.
Smith, a 2018 All-America first-team choice, picked up second-team honors, while Montgomery was voted to the third team. Prendergast rounded out the Duke selections as honorable mention. It is the ninth time in program history Duke has had multiple first-team picks and the first time in Blue Devil history two close defensemen garnered the recognition the same year.
Van Raaphorst, a three-time All-ACC choice, repeats as a first-team selection after helping anchor Duke’s stellar close defense. The Blue Devils lead the ACC and rank sixth nationally in scoring defense as one of nine teams to allow fewer than 10 goals per game. Van Raaphorst also has been instrumental as a pole on the faceoff wing, including picking up the ground ball on the opening faceoff in overtime of the NCAA quarterfinal win against Notre Dame this season.
Overall, the Phoenix native leads all non-faceoff specialists with 59 ground balls. He has picked up at least one ground ball in 15 of his 17 games this season and has at least five in four games, including eight in consecutive April games against Marquette and Notre Dame. Van Raaphorst regularly holds opponents’ top scorers below their point average and held the nation’s top scorer Pat Spencer to just three points, four fewer than his average of seven, in the win against the Greyhounds. He is second on the team with 22 caused turnovers, one fewer than he had in 20 games last season. For his career, Van Raaphorst has 150 ground balls and 65 caused turnovers in 69 games. He also has two goals and four assists for six points.
The 2019 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Giles-Harris garners first-team recognition for the first time after being a third-team honoree in 2018. The three-year starter joins Van Raaphorst as one of Duke’s top cover guys and leads the team with 26 ground balls, which ranks fifth in Duke single-season history. He has forced at least one turnover in 13 games this season and has multiple in seven outings. Giles-Harris was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week twice during the regular season. He held Kevin Lindley of Loyola, the nation’s top goal scorer at the time, scoreless to earn his first honor and then was crucial in holding Notre Dame to eight goals in the regular season victory to earn his second recognition. A native of Nyack, N.Y., Giles-Harris also has 36 ground balls. For his career he has started 54 of 55 games and has 90 ground balls and 57 caused turnovers.
Smith, a 2018 USILA first team All-America midfielder, is Duke’s utility guy on offense. Able to play midfield or attack, the Mountain Lakes, N.J., native missed the first couple of games this season to injury before seeing the field on attack. He started to hit his stride against Penn, recording a hat trick and six points overall. Smith added 10 goals over the next four games to fuel Duke’s seven-game win streak. The senior captain returned to his midfield role against Notre Dame during the regular season and notched three goals and two assists. He continued to anchor the first midfield line as a scorer and facilitator, eventually leading Duke to the NCAA semifinals. Overall this season, Smith has 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 points to rank second on the team. Smith has played in 73 career games and owns 84 goals and 87 assists. He currently ranks 22nd in program history in points (171) and 12th in assists.
Duke’s No. 3 scorer, Montgomery is having a solid sophomore campaign with 21 goals and 16 assists for 37 points. His points total in his 15 games this season is 21 more than he had in 19 outings a year ago. A dual threat to score goals and dish out assists, the Dallas native has at least one point in 14 games this season and has at least three in seven outings. He tallied a career-high four goals in the win over Loyola and has a combined 10 points so far in the NCAA Tournament this year. In both of Duke’s wins over Notre Dame, Montgomery had a goal and four assists. In his two seasons as a Blue Devil, he has 35 goals and 18 assists.
Prendergast, Duke’s top short-stick defensive midfielder, garners his first All-America nod after earning his first All-ACC accolade as well in 2019. Incredibly tough to beat, Prendergast is a crucial piece of Duke’s stellar defense that is allowing just 9.41 goals per game. He has six caused turnovers and also is dangerous in transition with three goals and two assists. Possessing great speed, the Niskayuna, N.Y., native is instrumental on the wing on faceoffs and in Duke’s clearing game. He did it all in Duke’s win over a top-five Towson team in March, tallying a goal and an assist to go along with his two ground balls and one caused turnover. For his career he has played in 73 games and has 18 goals and five assists, 61 ground balls and 16 caused turnovers.
The second-seeded Blue Devils are headed to their 12th NCAA Championship Weekend as they take on ACC foe Virginia in the semifinals, May 25 at 12 p.m., on ESPN2. Duke finished as runner-up last season as it looks to get back to its seventh NCAA Championship game and bring home its fourth NCAA title.