DURHAM- Duke Women’s Football Seniors Delaney Graham and Mackenzie Pluck have each announced that they will use their extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic and compete for the Blue Devils in the 2022 season.
Both Graham and Pluck played key roles in Duke’s 2021 campaign which ended with a 16-4-1 record, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championship and a trip to the quarterfinals. of the NCAA. During their four-year Durham career, the pair started a total of 137 out of 166 games and contributed to Duke’s 53 wins.
“We’re really excited to have Delaney and Mackenzie back with us for the 2022 season,” the head coach said. Robbie’s Church. “In addition to being phenomenal students and phenomenal athletes on the field, they have greatly represented the program, the university and the athletic department in the community. They are both very dynamic players. They have been a large part of our program for four years, and going forward we expect them to have the best year of their lives, providing us with tremendous leadership and experience both on and off the pitch.
A two-time All-ACC selection, Graham has played in 82 career games with 80 starts. She has established herself as one of the most versatile players in the country over the past four seasons, lining up as a defender, midfielder and forward. The Atlanta, Georgia native has scored four goals and provided 12 assists for 20 career points, with her last highlight coming in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Championship when she scored the game-winning goal against Memphis. Graham has earned United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Region honors in each of the past two seasons. She has earned a number of accolades for her off-court efforts, including two CoSIDA Academic All-America and four All-ACC Academic Team accolades.
Delaney has played the past two seasons at Duke alongside his sophomore sister Maggie Graham.
“I think the main reason I’m coming back next year is that I’m not ready to be done with football yet,” Graham said. “I’ve dedicated my whole life to football, so I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to let go of it right now. I need at least another year to enjoy it. It’s also particularly important for me to have one more year playing with Maggie. I’m really excited about this coming season because I have no doubt that our team will be of national caliber. It would be amazing to come out on top!”
Pluck has played at least 20 games in each of the past four years, scoring 18 goals and 21 assists for 57 points. His eight career assists in 2021 led the Blue Devils and ranked ninth in the ACC. Pluck is off to an impressive start to his senior campaign, finding the back of the net four times in the team’s first six games with two wins during that streak. Her playmaking ability continued in the distributor role later in the season, as she recorded five assists in six games in ACC play. Pluck is a three-time All-ACC Academic Team winner and has been named to the ACC Honor Roll every July since joining Duke.
“Having this extra year of eligibility is a blessing for many reasons,” Pluck said. “I am so grateful to have another opportunity to compete for a national championship. I know this team is special and I am determined to walk away with a championship trophy. In addition to the football, the school, the people and the environment are hard to refuse.. I’m more than excited to be back for another year!”
Graham, Pluck and the Blue Devils will play five exhibition games in the spring, starting Thursday, March 3 when they face the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage in Cary, N.C. at 4 p.m. More information on the scrum, including location of the field and political participation, will be provided at a later date.