DURHAM, N.C. –For the second consecutive season the Duke men’s soccer team finished ranked in the top 15 in the final edition of the United Soccer Coaches poll. The Blue Devils came in at No. 11 this season, after advancing to the NCAA Round of 16.
NCAA Champion Maryland topped the rankings, while runner-up Akron was second after being unseeded going into the NCAA Tournament. Indiana, Michigan State and Kentucky rounded out the top five.
Duke’s No. 11 final ranking is the highest for the Blue Devils under head coach John Kerr. It bests the No. 12 ranking in 2009. The Blue Devils, ranked 10th in the preseason poll climbed to as high as No. 2 during the season. Duke was ranked in the top 25 all season and headed into postseason play at No. 10.
The 2018 was a memorable one for the Blue Devils as they advanced to the ACC Championship semifinals after taking third in the regular season ACC standings. Duke finished the year with an 11-7-2 overall record and earned the NCAA No. 6 seed for the second consecutive season. The Blue Devils defeated Pacific 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to 15th-ranked and eventual national champion Maryland 2-0 in the round of 16.
Headlining the Duke offense was junior Daniele Proch. A Hermann Trophy semifinalist, Proch had a breakout season for the Blue Devils. Duke’s first All-ACC pick since 2015, the Riva Del Garda, Italy native garnered All-America second team honors as well as USC Scholar All-America first-team recognition. He finished the season with 11 goals and four assists for 26 points, the most by a Duke player since 2011.
Rookie Issa Rayyan was a standout in his first season, earning ACC Rookie of the Year recognition after finishing the year with six goals and three assists for 15 points. He is the fourth Blue Devil to earn the ACC honor, while his 15 points are the most by a Duke freshman since Brody Huitema had 16 in 2013.
A trio of defenders anchored the Duke backline with Aedan Stanley being the steady force in the middle and sophomore Matthias Frick and senior Ciaran McKenna manning the flanks. Will Pulisic, All-ACC second team choice, was in goal for Duke. He played all but 10 minutes and registered a 1.18 goals against average and a .692 save percentage with six shutouts.
The engine to Duke’s offense and an all-around steady presence in the middle of the field, Brandon Williamson garnered All-ACC second team honors as well as All-South Region third team recognition. He had a goal and an assist on the year and provided invaluable minutes as the playmaker.
Overall, the Blue Devils landed six on All-ACC teams as Rayyan was a second-team choice, McKenna a third team pick, and Stanley on the All-Freshman Team.