The Duke Blue Devils won their second national championship on Monday
With the sun shining and a Wawa sandwich in hand, it was a gorgeous Memorial Day for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship game. Seas of blue and orange filled Lincoln Financial Field, as fans plunged into the Linc watch Duke take on Syracuse and battle for the title of “Champion”.
Orange fans were in full force as cheers rang out during Cuse’s 4-0 run in the first quarter. Kevin Rice hit Billy Ward for the first goal of the game to put SU up 1-0. Rice then took it upon himself to score the next goal unassisted. Jojo Marasco picked up an assist as he fed Dylan Donahue during the Orange’s first EMO. Luke Cometti got in on the action receiving a pass from Rice for their team’s fourth and final goal of the first. 4-0 Syracuse.
Duke was baffled and could not figure out what they had to do in order to stop the bleeding. Early in the second, it seemed as though the Blue Devil’s were going downhill quick as Rice found Donahue to make it 5-0 Orange. It wasn’t until the 12:54 mark in the second quarter that Head Coach John Danowski’s team found the back of the net with a Christian Walsh to Jordan Wolf connection. Syracuse didn’t like that, so Donahue decided to assist Scott Loy to give the Orange back their five goal lead. That would be all the Orange would score for the rest of the first half as Duke went on a 4-0 run to end the second quarter. Jake Tripucka, Myles Jones, Josh Dionne and Wolf all scored to make it 6-5 with Dionne’s goal the only assisted tally. Coach Desko’s team took the one goal lead heading into halftime.
Danowski must of had some halftime speech because the Blue Devils came out firing. The two teams traded goals to start the third. Duke’s David Lawson picked up his first goal of the day to tie the game at six, followed by a Donahue goal assisted by Ryan Barber to regain the lead for Cuse that ended their goal dehydration that lasted 22:19.
Tying the game at seven was Lawson’s second goal, with Tripucka assisting, that sparked a 6-0 bombardment of goals that went into the fourth quarter without a Syracuse answer. Josh Offit scored unassisted to give Duke its first lead of the game and they never looked back. Dionne recorded his second of the game with a feed from Wolf during their first EMO of the game. Closing out the third, Offit found the back of the net with 0:24 seconds left to put his team up 10-7.
Dionne and Tripucka locked eyes as they opened up the fourth scoring for Duke and increasing their team’s lead to four. Christian Walsh got his name on the stat sheet after catching a pass from Offit. Tripucka followed up with his fourth point of the game. Marasco said enough was enough and scored back to back unassisted goals for his team to give the Orange some life and bring them within four. Wolf was not to be out done, going off for back to back goals himself. Offit assisted Wolf on one of those goals and put the game far out of reach scoring next for the Blue Devils. Chris Daddio tried to give Syracuse a push by finding Joe Fazio for the final goal of the game.
Charlie Payton took his only and the final face-off, relieving Brendan Fowler, and lost against Brian Megill. Fazio picked up the ground ball and got possession for Cuse. Rice took shot on Luke Aaron, who took over for Kyle Turri the final minute of play, and made his second save of the game. Bill Conners scooped up the ground ball and drew the holding penalty called on Marasco that put the nail in the coffin as Danowski’s Blue Devils held the ball and ran out the clock for the 16-10 victory.
Turri made ten saves on the day, letting up nine goals. He also frustrated the Orange offense, not only with his saves, but with one of his many talents in intercepting crease feeds from behind the net. Dominic Lomolinara played the entire game for Syracuse and let in 16 goals and stopped eleven shots.
Brendan Fowler, named game MVP, went crazy at the face-off x, winning 20-28 draws. Payton went 0-1 and Luke Duprey won his only draw of the game. Syracuse’s face-off woes took their toll as they used five different guys at the X, winning 9-30, Chris Paduda took the most draws, going 3-13, with Brian Megill winning 5-7 and Matt Harris tallying 1-4. Elliott Burr, Peter Macartney and Chris Daddio all went in and did not win one face. Donahue recorded three goals and one assist with Kevin Rice tallying one goal and three assists to lead Syracuse. Wolf scored four goals and picked up two assists to end with six points for Duke.
Each team caused eleven turnovers, two face-off violations and went 1-3 in EMO’s. Duke totaled 17-18 on their clears, with Syracuse recording 15-16. The Blue Devils also won in the ground ball battle with a 44-27 margin and in the shots category, 46-36.
The seniors for Duke were part of the teams first championship back in 2010 to help the seniors then to get over the hump of the scandal that rocked the Durham, NC University. Ending their season 16-5, after starting 2-4, this is the Blue Devils’ second national championship overall, both have been with Danowski at the helm.