INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Senior captain David Lawson tallied a career-high five goals to lead Duke to a thrilling 12-11 comeback victory over No. 2 seed Notre Dame in front of 7,749 fans at the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinal at Lucas Oil Stadium. The win launches Duke to its seventh straight championship weekend appearance and ninth overall in program history.
Duke (14-5) scored the game’s final three goals to rally from an 11-9 deficit in the fourth quarter and capture its second straight one-goal NCAA Tournament victory. The Blue Devils avenged the regular season loss to Notre Dame (11-5) in the NCAA Tournament for the third time since 2010.
“I thought they [Notre Dame] were brilliant today,” said head coach John Danowski. “Their faceoff guy was terrific. Their goalie was tremendous. They shot the ball extremely well. It was one of those games playing against a dear friend Kevin Corrigan that you hate to see someone lose. With that being said, I am extremely proud of our guys from beginning to end. We wanted to play for 60 minutes. We certainly don’t script these endings, last week or this week. We just wanted to play the game. Kyle Turri, while he didn’t have a great day in the goal statistically, comes up with a big save on the outlet. He keeps his poise and allows us to score the tying goal.”
The game was a back-and-forth affair for the entire 60 minutes, featuring nine ties and five lead changes with the largest lead being two goals by both squads. Junior attackman Jordan Wolf had four assists on the day, while classmate Josh Dionne had three tallies in the win.
Trailing 11-9 with 9:29 to play, the Blue Devils defense buckled down and held the Irish scoreless while the offense made the final charge. Duke made it a one-goal game, 11-10, on an unassisted score from junior Christian Walsh with 8:31 to play.
With 3:30 to play and neither team having scored for five minutes, Duke goaltender Kyle Turri came up with his biggest play of the afternoon as he stopped Sean Rogers’ shot on the crease and sent an outlet pass to Greg DeLuca. The senior midfielder raced down the field and found Wolf who quickly dished it to Dionne for the game-tying score with 3:18 to play.
“The defender tripped on the back of the goal,” said Turri. “He came around and I just matched his stick. I kept the stick high, saw it all the way and it was really nice to get the last one.”
Duke rode the wave of momentum and won the ensuing faceoff, the 15th win of the day for Duke’s draw man Brendan Fowler. Just like he had done for much of the game, Lawson came up with another huge play as he beat Notre Dame goalie John Kemp low for what proved to be the game winner.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair featuring five ties and three lead changes. Notre Dame grabbed its first lead of the game 25 seconds into the second quarter before Duke responded with three unanswered for the 6-4 advantage. The Irish followed suit and responded with consecutive scores to send then the squads into halftime even at 6-6.
That trend continued in the third quarter with the two teams trading goals and ending 45 minutes of play knotted at 9-9. Notre Dame raced back in front, 11-19, five minutes into the fourth quarter to set up the thrilling comeback by the Blue Devils.
Fowler finished the game 16-of-26 at the faceoff X with seven ground balls. Turri finished with two saves, while Kemp made 13 for the game. Matt Kavanaugh led all Notre Dame scorers with three goals and three assists for six points.
Duke will take on unseeded Cornell in the first NCAA semifinal game May 25 at 2:30 p.m., at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The game will be televised live by ESPN2 with the winner advancing to the title game May 27 at 1 p.m.
With the win…
the Blue Devils are now 26-15 in NCAA Championship play.
the Blue Devils are now 13-11 in the NCAA Championship at neutral sites.
the Blue Devils are now 9-4 in NCAA Championship quarterfinal matches,
Blue Devils head coach John Danowski is now 109-29 (seven seasons) at Duke and 328-168 (31 seasons) overall.
Coach Danowski became the first NCAA Division I head coach to advance to the NCAA Semifinals in each of his first seven seasons with a program.
the Blue Devils move to 4-1 in one-goal contests.
With his four-point performance, Jordan Wolf, extends his point scoring streak to 38 games, sixth in NCAA Division I lacrosse.
After scoring three goals, Josh Dionne reached the 100-point plateau, the 41st player in Blue Devils history to do so. He joins current teammates, Christian Walsh and Wolf, on the list.
David Lawson is just one point shy (99 career points) of joining his teammates in the century club after scoring five goals, a team high, in the contest.
In the history of the Duke program, only two goal-scoring performances outdid Lawson’s five-goal output, both by former Blue Devils student-athlete, Zack Greer.
Brendan Fowler now has 183 ground balls on the seasons after scooping up seven today, third for the category in NCAA single-season history. Additionally, Fowler’s 16 faceoff wins moves him into second all-time in a single season (303 faceoff wins), eight shy of the NCAA single-season record.