Change of Venues? No Problem
The Blue Devils obviously felt quite at home Saturday when the game, originally scheduled for Koskinen Stadium, got moved to the West Campus Field just six hours prior to faceoff. The turf fields are where Duke practices daily and had played three times prior, going 3-0. The Blue Devils, aiming to defend their literal home turf, jumped out to an 8-2 first-quarter lead and rolled to a 17-7 victory over Penn. A trio of Blue Devils notched hat tricks, and defensively, Duke held Penn scoreless for a span of 22:03 en route to building a 14-4 lead through 45 minutes. The seven goals allowed were the fewest for Duke this season, while the 17 scored tied a season high.
Duke on West Campus Turf Fields
Date Opponent Score
Feb. 15, 2014 Denver W, 14-10
Feb. 28, 2015 Harvard W, 21-14
Mar. 1, 2015 Providence W, 20-8
Feb. 23, 2019 Penn W, 17-7
Smith Getting Comfortable
Senior Brad Smith took another step forward in getting comfortable playing attack. The 2018 All-American midfielder tied his career high in points with six from three goals and three assists. Four of his six points came in the first half as he recorded his seventh career hat trick and the first of this season. His career points total stands at 129, ranking 34th in Duke history. He is 21 points away from becoming the 29th Blue Devil to record 150 career points.
Duke Defense Shuts Down Quakers
Defensively, the Blue Devils were excellent Saturday, holding Penn to only four goals in the first 54 minutes. The close defense of Jack Fowler, JT Giles-Harris and Cade Van Raaphorst combined for six caused turnovers, while goaltender Turner Uppgren picked off two passes and made seven saves in 55 minutes of action.
Smyth Spurs Offense and Defense
Junior faceoff specialist Brian Smyth had a strong day at the faceoff X, allowing the Duke offense constant opportunities to score and keeping the Quaker offense away from the Duke goal. He won 13-of-19 draws – Duke won 17-of-27 overall on the day – and picked up seven ground balls. The week prior against No. 3 Maryland, Penn’s draw man Kyle Gallagher won 21-of-27 restarts in a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Terrapins.
Smyth currently ranks second in the ACC and ninth nationally in faceoff percentage at .637. His 8.20 ground balls per game is the best average in the league and 12th among Division I players. His 41 ground balls are halfway to his total of 82 a season ago, while the 65 wins at the X are 91 shy of his 156 in 17 games last season.
Duke and Richmond in the Polls
The Blue Devils, despite the commanding win, dropped to No. 6 in this week’s coaches’ poll and Inside Lacrosse media poll. Duke jumped up three spots to No. 9 in the Lacrosse Magazine rankings. Upcoming opponent Richmond, after knocking off Notre Dame, comes in at No. 16 in the coaches’ poll, 14th by Inside Lacrosse and 11th in the Lacrosse Magazine rankings.
Seau with the Hat Trick
Graduate student Jake Seau continues to have a stellar final season, notching a hat trick Saturday against Penn. The California native registered three goals – the first hat trick of his career – pushing his season total to nine. The nine tallies and 12 points overall both are one more than he had his previous 35 games combined.
Robertson’s Streak Continues
Sophomore attackman Joe Robertson’s scoring streak moved to 16 games Saturday after the Charlottesville, Va., native posted four goals and two assists in the win. He has scored at least one goal in each of his past 16 outings and has 10 hat tricks in that span. The 16-game goal scoring streak currently ranks 10th nationally and is the longest in the ACC. He is four games shy of joining a list of 15 other players with a 20-game point streak. For his career, he currently owns 83 career points, leaving him 17 shy of becoming the 46th Blue Devil to reach the century mark.