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Duke Set to Take on Big Ten Foes in Exhibition Games
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 08/16/2012
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DURHAM, N.C.-The Duke University men's soccer team kicks off the exhibition portion of its schedule this weekend at the annual SHinDigZ National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Blue Devils play Ohio State, Aug. 17 and Michigan State Aug. 19.

Duke and Ohio State Meeting

The Blue Devils and Buckeyes square off for just the second time in the programs' histories. Duke defeated Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament in 2004. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., at the IPFW Hefner Soccer Complex. It will be the second exhibition game for Ohio State and the first for the Blue Devils.

Duke Meets Michigan State

Duke and Michigan State will play Sunday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m., to wrap up the exhibition portion of the schedule. The Blue Devils defeated Michigan State in the 2009 NCAA Tournament and are 2-0 all-time against the Spartans.

A Closer Look at the Blue Devils

Duke returns five starters from a squad that finished 11-8-3 overall and advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round. Senior James Belshaw and junior Sebastien Ibeagha captain the squad after earning All-ACC honors in 2011. 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.

Strong Incoming Group

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.

About Ohio State and Michigan State

Ohio State is coming off of a 2-1 win over Duquesne in its opening exhibition contest. Senior Chris Hegngi headlines the offense and recently was selected to the Hermann Trophy Watch List. The Buckeyes welcome seven freshmen to the squad and a transfer from Virginia. Michigan State brings in a recruiting class ranked eighth by College Soccer News and includes a transfer from Maryland. The Spartans finished 7-8-4 overall last year, while Ohio State was 10-7-2.

Duke Opens Regular Season on the Road

For the second consecutive year the Blue Devils open their regular season schedule on the road when they take on Notre Dame. Duke and the Irish are set to kick off on Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m., at Alumni Stadium on Notre Dame's campus. Duke makes its home debut in the John Rennie Nike Invitational Aug. 31 against Santa Clara at 7:30 p.m.