The fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils fell 7-6 to the sixth-ranked Notre Dame Irish when the two faced off in semifinal play in the ACC men’s lacrosse tournament at Koskinen Stadium on Friday..
A three-goal finish from attack Jack Bruckner as one of four scorers for the Blue Devils fell one goal short as keeper Shane Doss made his most critical save of 10 total, and preserved the win for the Fighting Irish in the dying seconds of the game.
Notre Dame advanced to Sunday’s championship final to face defending NCAA champion and 18th-ranked North Carolina, 17-16 winners over top-ranked Syracuse in the night’s earlier semifinal matchup.
“We’re just disappointed,” Duke coach John Danowski said. “I think we didn’t embrace the atmosphere of the big game. With that being said, the Notre Dame kids were tougher than us. I thought they out-toughed us in the first half.”
It was a low-scoring affair compared to the two teams’ earlier season matchup back on April 8 that ended 11-8 in favor of the Blue Devils.
Danowski thought his defense did an “adequate job”, but wasn’t pleased with his team’s offensive effort.
Bryan Costabile’s first career hat trick led Notre Dame’s offense with the support of Mikey Wynne’s two goals as Notre Dame led 4-0 early in the third quarter before the Blue Devils awoke from their offensive slumber.
Mitch Russell’s man-up finish finally got Duke on the board with 9:04 to play and fueled a 4-0 run that included goals from Justin Guterding and Bruckner’s first two.
Notre Dame ended a 21-minute scoring drought when Drew Schantz beat Duke goalkeeper Danny Fowler (seven saves) and put the Irish ahead by one with 7:25 remaining.
Bruckner tied it up again just under a minute later with a sidearm that beat Doss from his right.
Ryder Garnsey scored in close and Notre Dame led 6-5 with 2:58 to play.
Wynne added an insurance goal and extended the difference to two goals 24 seconds later.
Duke’s 10-man ride forced a turnover and the Blue Devils had the ball.
Coming out of a timeout, Quigley pulled the trigger and his 10-yard sidearm beat Doss, and cut the Irish lead back down to one goal as Duke trailed 7-6 with 23 seconds remaining.
The Blue Devils came up with the ensuing possession off the draw and called another timeout.
The final offensive sequence was denied and so was Duke’s opportunity to earn an ACC championship title.
“Offensively, we really fell short,” Danowski stated. “We still had opportunities to make plays in that second half, but Notre Dame was the much better team tonight.”