DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke men’s lacrosse trio of JT Giles-Harris, Brad Smith and Cade Van Raaphorst continues to reap awards for the Blue Devils, earning spots on the 25-player Tewaaraton Award Nominee List as announced by the Tewaaraton Award Foundation Thursday. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top men and women’s lacrosse players.
Duke is the lone program to have three nominees, while Virginia, Yale and Towson have two apiece. Giles-Harris and Van Raaphorst are two of five defensemen and Smith is one of four midfielders selected to the 25-person list. All three Blue Devils most recently were named to the All-ACC team, while it is the first Tewaaraton Award nomination for each of them.
Van Raaphorst and Giles-Harris have been outstanding as Duke’s anchors to the close defense. The duo has shut opponents’ top scorers down this year and are a key component of the Blue Devils sporting the nation’s third-best goals against average at 8.86. Both are athletically gifted and complement each other well. In 2019, only six times has one of Duke’s opponents top-two scorers surpassed or reached his point scoring average, including holding Pat Spencer and Kevin Lindley of Loyola to only three points despite the duo’s 11.7 points per game average at the time.
Van Raaphorst has been on a ground ball tear of late, with 15 in the past two games. Overall, the Phoenix native leads non-faceoff specialists with 46 ground balls and is second with 18 caused turnovers. He ranks fifth in the ACC in caused turnovers. He also has a goal and two assists on the year. Van Raaphorst was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week following the Blue Devils’ win over then No. 5 Towson and was voted to the USILA Team of the Week after holding Loyola’s Spencer to only three points.
Giles-Harris, a two-year starter, is an equally tough matchup for opposing offenses. He leads the Blue Devils and ranks second in the ACC in caused turnovers with 23, which is one more than he had in 20 games last season. His 32 ground balls are six more than he had in 2018 and are third among the non-faceoff group. He has at least one ground ball in 13 of 14 games and was twice named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week. The Nyack, N.J., native forced four turnovers in wins against Jacksonville and Towson. Versus Virginia, Giles-Harris held Matt Moore scoreless in the first half as he picked up responsibility on the talented attackman.
A 2018 first-team All-American midfielder, Smith has come on strong after suffering an early season injury. He started the season at attack before returning to his midfield role where he has since thrived. Capable of scoring and providing the assist, the Mountain Lakes, N.J., native is second on the team in points with 22 goals and 21 assists for 43 points. He was named the ACC Offensive Player of the Week after totaling two goals and three assists in the win against Towson. Most recently, Smith tallied the overtime game winner to lift Duke to the 10-9 victory versus Marquette. He has 11 points since returning to his midfield role and registered 12 in the four ACC outings. For his career, Smith ranks 26 in Duke scoring history with 161 points and is 13th with 81 assists.
Duke opens postseason play with the ACC Semifinal April 27 against No. 11 Notre Dame at 4:30 p.m., in Chapel Hill, N.C. The game will be televised by ESPNU.