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Courtesy: John Gill
GB Notebook: Duke's Balance; Van Raaphorst Recognized
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/13/2018
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Duke Grabs Another Top 10 Win

Third-ranked Duke garnered another top 10 victory Saturday, besting No. 6 Loyola 13-9. The victory was the first road win for the Blue Devils as they improved to 6-1 on the year. Trailing 4-2, Duke went on a 7-0 run, which included holding Loyola scoreless for over 20 minutes. Duke improved to 15-8 in true road games since 2015 and 9-9 in top 10 matchups in that time frame. The Blue Devils are 49-32 in top-10 outings under head coach John Danowski.

 

Midfield Shines in Baltimore

Midfielders Brad Smith and Peter Conley shined for the Blue Devils Saturday, combining for 12 points with four goals and two assists apiece. Rookie Nakeie Montgomery added a ninth goal from the midfield units, while the attack completed the scoring with a combined four goals from Joe Robertson and Justin Guterding. The four goals were both career-high performances of Smith and Conley in a Duke uniform. It is the first career hat trick for Smith against a top 10 opponent. Conley had three goals against then-No. 4 Denver.

 

Blue Devils Pick Up More Weekly Awards

Junior close defenseman Cade Van Raaphorst garnered his second consecutive USILA Team of the Week award after holding Loyola star attackman Pat Spencer without a goal in Duke’s victory over the Greyhounds. Spencer, coming into the game averaging 5.40 points and 2.40 goals per game, dished out three assists, but only got five looks at goal. He also committed two turnovers in the setback. Van Raaphorst has drawn the assignment of guarding opponents’ top scorer and has been successful so far this season. He is tied for the team lead in caused turnovers with 10 and leads the defensemen with 17 ground balls.

 

Forcing the Issue on Defense

Duke’s defense has been stifling this season, allowing just 7.57 goals per game to lead the ACC and rank fifth nationally. The Blue Devils are forcing the issue this season against their foes and lead the conference and rank fifth nationally in caused turnovers per game with a 9.43 per game average. Last season, in which Duke posted one of its best defensive campaigns, the Blue Devils were fourth in the ACC and 46th among Division I teams with only 6.17 caused turnovers per game.

 

2017 – 6.17

2016 – 6.26

2015 – 6.61

2014 – 6.35

2013 – 7.29

2012 – 7.75

2011 – 7.30

2010 – 8.80 

 

Offense Staying the Course

Duke’s offense continued to flourish Saturday at Loyola, netting 13 goals and 19 points overall. The Blue Devils were buoyed by their midfield scoring as top scorer Justin Guterding was held to just two points. Duke’s offensive totals kept it at the top of the Division I ranks in scoring offense (15.14), shot percentage (.414) and points per game (23.00). The 2018 averages are a full two goals and two points per game higher than Duke’s at this time last season, while the shooting percentage is up from .368. Duke is the lone team this season to be averaging over 15 goals per game, compared to five teams doing so at this point in 2017.

 

Duke a Force on Both Ends

Duke has proven it features one of the most complete teams with stalwarts both on offense and defense. The Blue Devils are one of two teams, sharing the honor with Albany, to have their offense and defense ranked among the top five statistically. In addition to owning the country’s top scoring offense, Duke is home to the fifth-ranked defense. Albany is second and third in the respective categories.

 

Scoring Offense Top Five

  1. Duke
  2. Albany
  3. Colgate
  4. Virginia
  5. Georgetown

 

Scoring Defense Top Five

  1. Hofstra
  2. Vermont
  3. Albany
  4. Army West Point
  5. Duke

 

Danny Fowler Stats as Duke Nears Halfway Point

Returning All-ACC goaltender Danny Fowler is off to a strong start as Duke nears the halfway part of the 2018 regular season. He leads the ACC and is in the top 15 in both goals against average (7.69) and save percentage (.565). His 7.43 saves per game are third in the ACC. This is credit to Fowler’s play as well as the efforts of the defense in front of him as Duke’s opponents are getting just 27 shots per game.

 

Danny Fowler 2017 and 2018 Comparison through March 12

Year               GAA              SV%

2017               8.99               .541

2018               7.69               .565

 

ACC Play Nearing

Duke’s ACC slate is nearing as the Blue Devils complete a busy three-game road swing. After playing its two games in two days, Duke returns home to host Syracuse March 24 and North Carolina March 30. The two contests kick off four straight ACC games, culminating in the ACC Championship in Charlottesville.

 

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