Duke rallies to keep Final Four streak intact
Duke had two trends on its side during its NCAA lacrosse quarterfinal game against Notre Dame.
Coach John Danowski had won nearly 80 percent of rematches while at Duke, while the
Blue Devils had advanced to the Final Four in each of his six seasons at the school.
Those trends continued, as Duke rallied for a 12-11 win over the Irish in front of a pro-Notre Dame crowd of 7,749 in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Duke senior David Lawson scored five goals Sunday, including the game-winner. It equaled the Blue Devils’ offensive output in an early season 13-5 loss to Notre Dame.
“Traditionally, we’ve scored five or six goals against (Notre Dame) and that’s it,” Danowski said. “I give a lot of credit to the kids for continuing to work hard (through the season). ... David is one of those men who is relaxed and playing like a senior, with a lot of confidence.”
Duke’s loss to Notre Dame on Feb. 16 was part of a 2-4 beginning to the season. But as with recent slow starts to a season, the Blue Devils (14-5) rebounded to secure a spot in championship weekend.
“We were more depressed this year than we were in years past,” Danowski said. “I think it was a taller climb for sure, but once again, give a lot of credit to our staff and players. We practiced well, we just didn’t play well. … But they never stopped giving us great effort.
"What we feared was we were going to lose them, but they never stopped listening.”
Notre Dame (11-5) led 11-10 with four minutes remaining, but Duke tied the game when goalie Kyle Turri made a save and a perfect outlet pass that later would result in Josh Dionne’s third goal of the game with 3:18 left.
“Kyle, while he didn’t have a great day in the goal statistically speaking, but (he) comes up with a big save, gets the outlet, keeps his poise and allows us to score the tying goal,” Danowski said. “I think that is indicative of the spirit of our group — we just keep playing, keep competing and see what happens at the end of the game.”
Lawson then scored the game-winning goal on a powerful shot with 2:16 remaining.
“I hitched it with my left hand and just let it rip,” Lawson said.
Notre Dame had a shot sail over the crossbar with a minute remaining but kept possession after one official overruled another.
Duke then created a turnover with 35 seconds remaining and ran out the clock, advancing to face Cornell in the national semifinals. Danowski has advanced to the Final Four in each of his seven seasons at Duke.
“We actually try to not think about it, because we don’t want to be the first team not to be in the Final Four under Coach Danowski,” Lawson said. “We don’t talk about it, but we’re obviously very happy.”
Jake Tripucka, Case Matheis, Deemer Class and Christian Walsh each scored a goal for Duke, complementing Lawson’s five goals and Dionne’s hat trick. Jordan Wolf had four assists and Tripucka added one.
Notre Dame scored three of its goals on extra-man opportunities while not committing a penalty. Duke won 16 of 26 faceoffs.