PHILADELPHIA – Duke University junior faceoff specialist Brendan Fowler won 20-of-28 faceoffs and junior Jordan Wolf scored four goals to lead the Blue Devils to the 2013 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championship with a 16-10 victory over top-seeded Syracuse. The national championship is the second for the Blue Devils and the second for head coach John Danowski.
Fowler garnered the Most Outstanding Player award, while David Lawson, Jake Tripucka and joined the Wantagh, N.Y., native on the all-tournament team. The national championship is the 13th for Duke University and the second lacrosse title in four seasons. Wolf led all scorers in the game with four goals and two assists, while Josh Offit and Josh Dionne had three apiece. Offit posted five points overall and Tripucka had four (2g, 2a).
“Well, first we want to congratulate Syracuse University,” said Danowski. “Such a rich tradition and a classy coaching staff and great young men who played really hard. Nobody scripts being down 4‑0 or 5‑0, and inside I think we were all freaking out. But Jake Tripucka’s first goal I think allowed everybody to relax a little bit. Having Brendan Fowler at the faceoff X certainly doesn’t hurt anybody’s confidence when he trots out there. And at halftime, we basically said that we need to play Duke lacrosse over the next 30 minutes. But I think at halftime, I think getting back to 6‑5 helped everybody. I think we were settled down at halftime, and then just continued to play the game.”
Duke fell behind 5-0 to start the game, but outscored the Orange 12-1 to grab a 13-7 lead with 10:47 left in the fourth quarter en route to the six-goal victory.
Syracuse raced out to a 5-0 lead in the opening 15:42 before Jordan Wolf put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard for the first time at the 12:54 mark of the second quarter.
After the Orange responded to make it 6-1, senior Jake Tripucka got to the crease for his 22nd goal of the season and the first of his two of the afternoon to spark a 4-0 run that sent the Blue Devils into the locker room trailing by one, 6-5.
Four different Blue Devils netted goals in the run, including freshman Myles Jones. Duke’s defense was buckled down in the second quarter, allowing just two goals and held the Orange scoreless in the final 11:47. Led by Fowler, the Blue Devils dominated faceoffs in the second quarter, winning 7-of-8 and picking up 13 ground balls to Syracuse’s six. Duke also outshot the Orange 13-6 in the second session after allowing 15 in the opening frame.
“Well, obviously with such a big stage I think people just want to make plays,” said Dionne. It’s a natural occurrence. But I think our coaching staff did a great job at settling us down. To reiterate what Coach said, we wanted to play Duke lacrosse, and I think everyone saw that and it was evident when we started doing that and when our seniors got patient, we got patient.”
Fowler continued his dominance at the X in the third quarter, winning all seven restarts and ultimately 13 straight as the Blue Devils completed the comeback with a Lawson score 2:02 into the third period. The scoring pace slowed as neither team scored over the next seven-plus minutes.
“Obviously winning face‑offs and getting the ball back makes it a lot easier to score goals,” said Fowler. “But early I violated a few times, kind of let it get to my head a little bit. Once I cooled down a little and stuck to what I do every day, got into a groove there and just felt pretty good going out there every time.”
The Orange ended its 22:19 scoreless drought ended at the 4:28 mark of the third to go back up 7-6, but Duke responded with seven unanswered for the 13-7 lead with 10:47 to play in the game. The first six of those goals came in a span of 5:17 from the sticks of four different players. Tripucka capped off the run with an unassisted score at the 10:47 mark.
Syracuse was able to pull back within four again off of a pair of JoJo Marasco goals before Wolf and Offit added a combined three more for the Blue Devils in two minutes to ice the victory as the time winded down.
Kyle Turri finished with 10 saves to become just the fifth goalie in Duke history to register 10-plus saves in three NCAA Tournament contests. Dylan Donahue led all Syracuse scorers with four points, while Marasco finished with three (2g, 1a). Dom Lamolinara made 11 saves for the Orange in 60 minutes of action.