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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday Cardinal Couple -- ACC women's sports preview: DUKE



THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

- ACC women's sports preview: Duke





We've been doing a weekly preview of the ACC women's sports teams and schools Louisville will face in the 2014-15 seasons over the last couple of weeks. Next up...the Duke Blue Devils. 

Duke University, founded in 1838, is located in Durham, NC. They joined the ACC as an original member in 1953 and enrollment was recently listed as 6247 students. 

Their nickname is The Blue Devils and colors are Duke Blue and White. Their mascot is....wait for it....a Blue Devil.


What exactly does Duke have to do with Devils? And why Blue Devils? Aren't devils supposed to be red? Well, according to their official web site, the Blue Devil name was inspired by French soldiers in World World I, nicknamed "Les Diables Bleus" (French for Blue Devils if you didn't catch that.) These guys were strong, specially trained, fierce fighters dressed in blue capes. When the U.S. became involved in WW I, Les Diables Bleus toured the U.S. to gain support and money for the War and left a lasting impression among Americans.

Duke competes in 12 women's sports...Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Lacrosse, Rowing, Soccer, Swim/Dive, Tennis, Track and Field and Volleyball. 

Duke will be adding Softball as a varsity conference sport in 2018.

We'll look at eight of the squads that the Cards will probably face them in: 

Basketball.  Duke finished the season 28-7 and went 12-4 in the ACC. They were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by DePaul in the second round.

Joanne P. McCallie "Coach P" heads up the Blue Devils and she's starting her seventh season as head coach. She returns eight players from last season...notables are Elizabeth Williams, Alexis Jones and Owensboro's Rebecca Greenwell. Coach P recruited well within the class of 2014...bringing in three freshman and receiving a #3 in nation ranking from ESPN HoopGurlz.   

Cross Country.   The Duke distance runners finished 4th out of 33 teams in the NCAA Southeastern Regional. They were 5th out of 15 teams in the ACC Tournament and had the top place finisher in senior Julie Bottorff. 

Field Hockey.  Former UofL head field hockey coach Pam Bustin led Duke to the NCAA Championship finals, where they lost 2-0 to Maryland. They posted a 12-7 record and went 3-3 in the toughest field hockey conference in women's college athletics. 

Golf. Duke's women's golf team won the NCAA Championship in 2014. They also took the ACC Championship and four other matches during the season. They won the Bryan National Tournament by 18 strokes...a tournament where Louisville was also a participant and finished in 6th place...49 strokes back.

Lacrosse. The Duke Lax squad was 11-8 overall and 3-4 in ACC play. They made it to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, winning three games before falling to Maryland 15-8. They met Louisville early in the season, earning a hard fought 14-11 win over Louisville LAX. 

Rowing. Duke rowing faced a competitive schedule and finished fifth in the ACC Championships. They did not receive an NCAA bid. 

Soccer. The Blue Devils went 10-9-6 overall and 5-5-3 in the ACC. They qualified for the NCAA Tournament and three games before getting eliminated by Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals.

Volleyball. A program that won the ACC Tournament while posting a 28-5 overall record and 18-2 ACC mark. They surprisingly lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Durham to American in straight sets. 

Analysis:

They'll be one of the toughest foes Louisville will face in ACC play. Louisville will have their work cut out for them in hoops against McCallie's superb front line and Duke Volleyball looks to be returning a very strong squad. The lacrosse and field hockey squads will most likely handle the Cards and Duke women's golf...well, they were the national champs...you surmise the rest. Rowing and cross country probably won't hook up until the conference tournament...but both squads look comparable to Louisville's on a talent basis. 

Paulie's Favorite Duke memory:

It would have to go back to the summer of 2003...when Sonja and I visited relatives in Burlington and Haw River...a mere 15 miles from the Duke campus. We spent a day checking out the Duke Gardens and Forest, plus the beautiful Duke Chapel and campus architecture. We eventually hit Cameron Indoor Stadium and found it wide open. We walked the bleachers where the Cameron Crazies hang out and also got down on the court.

There were a couple of basketballs in a corner, so we saw no harm in hoisting a few shots. An elderly custodian came out and approached us with a disapproving look. I quickly explained our visit and it turned out he had relatives in Bowling Green. He smiled and his first question was...'Louisville or Kentucky fan?' I guess I answered correctly because he advised me I could take a few more shots if I wanted...my final shot was a "three" from the baseline in front of the bench that was 'nuthin but net'

I figured it was a good stopping point. 




My imagination had me with the ball, two seconds left and Laettner and Hill rushing out to block the potential go-ahead goal for the Cards. Minor, Rozier (and Sonja) crash the boards as I launch the pass from LeGree...and Coach Crum jumps to his feet as the shot goes through the net at the buzzer....Denny tossing his rolled-up program into the air. Jerry Jones shaking his head in disbelief as Coach K scowls and slowly walks toward the visitor bench.

Paul Rogers yells over the airwaves "GOT IT!!!!" and a stunned Cameron Indoor Stadium watches the wild celebration...

I know...but...sometimes it's fun to pretend.

paulie
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