DENVER – Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) tied a career-high with 16 saves and Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ontario) added a season-high seven points, including five goals, to propel No. 16 Denver to a 15-9 upset victory over No. 3/4 Duke Friday night in front of a crowd of 12,282 at the Whitman’s ® Sampler ® Mile High Classic at Sports Authority Field.
“I’m just really proud of our kids, they really fought tonight,” DU head coach Bill Tierney said. “Last Saturday we lost a tough game, but the guys showed up Monday, practiced really hard and dug deep to get a really great win against a great Duke team. I can’t thank Inside Lacrosse enough for putting on such a great event. Without them, none of this is possible.”
The Pioneers went up 3-0 early in the first quarter on goals from Chase Carraro (Louisville, Ky.), Wes Berg (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and Matthews.
After taking a 5-2 lead with 5:41 left in the second quarter, the Crimson and Gold conceded two goals in a six-second span, narrowing the margin to 5-4 with 3:51 remaining before the intermission.
Duke knotted the score at 5-5 with 2:17 left in the half on an unassisted goal from David Lawson, but Alex Demopoulos’ (Canton, Conn.) 15th goal of the season gave Denver a 6-5 lead heading into the break.
The Pioneers wasted no time regaining the momentum in the second half, scoring four goals in the first 5:05 of the third quarter. Eric Law’s (Centennial, Colo.) third goal of the game with 9:55 left in the third quarter extended the lead to 10-5.
Duke scored three-straight goals in 1:22 to cut the Denver lead to 11-9 with 12:08 left, but Carraro killed the momentum by taking the next face-off down the field and gave the Pioneers a 12-9 lead with his 13th goal of the season.
Matthews responded with another unassisted goal, while sophomore attacker Paul Danko (Towson, Md.) added a man-up goal to extend the Crimson and Gold lead to 14-9 at the 8:56 mark of the fourth quarter.
Berg added his second goal of the night to make the final score 15-9. Law recorded three goals and two assists in the win, tying his career-high with five points. Demopoulos added two goals and two assists, while Berg added two goals and one assist.
Denver won 14-of-27 face-offs, while Duke won 13-of-27. Duke picked up 25 ground balls and only had six turnovers in the game. Denver grabbed 24 ground balls and had 15 turnovers.
Notes: LaPlante was named the Whitman’s ® Sampler ® Player of the Game. With the win, Denver improves to 2-0 against Duke at neutral sites. The Pioneers are 2-3 in the all-time series against the Blue Devils, including two straight wins. Demopoulos extended his point streak to 48 games with four points tonight. He has recorded 82 goals and 75 assists for 157 points during that streak. Matthews is on a 42-game point streak and has scored 114 goals and 49 assists for 163 points during his streak. In the first game of the Mile High Classic, No. 6 Virginia topped Penn 10-8.