April 23, 2009

Courtesy of Duke

DURHAM, N.C.—In search of its third consecutive ACC title, the Duke University men’s lacrosse team opens ACC Tournament play against top-ranked Virginia on April 24 in the second semifinal game at University of North Carolina’s Kenan Stadium. The sixth-ranked Blue Devils and Cavaliers face off at 7:30 p.m., with the winner earning a bid to the championship game.

The Blue Devils captured the second seed after defeating previously unbeaten Virginia in the ACC regular season finale. The Cavaliers come into the contest as the No. 3 seed after posting a 2-1 record in conference play. Top seed Maryland takes on No. 4 seed North Carolina in the first game of the day. The winners will meet on Sunday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m., on Fox Sports Net South.

Tickets can be bought for the entire tournament or for an individual session. The individual session tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and youth. For the entire weekend, admission is $15 for adults and $12 for students and youth. For complete details about tickets and directions to Kenan Stadium, click here.

Duke and Virginia are clashing for the 69th time with the Cavaliers holding a 47-21 all-time lead. The Blue Devils have fared well of late, winning the past six contests, including the past two ACC Tournament championship games. Duke is 4-6 all-time against the Cavaliers in the ACC Tournament and is 1-3 in semifinal contests. Virginia’s last win was a 13-4 triumph on April 17, 2004 in Charlottesville.

Looking to capture its sixth ACC Tournament title, Duke (10-3) enters the tournament with a 15-14 all-time record. The Blue Devils are 5-1 since 2005 and have not failed to advance to the championship game since losing to Maryland in the semifinals in 2004.

Being held in Chapel Hill for the sixth time, Duke is 4-4 all-time in the previous five tournaments and captured the 1995 crown with a win over host North Carolina. As the No. 2 seed, Duke is 3-1 with the last time coming in 2002. The Blue Devils defeated Maryland 8-7 in overtime in the semifinals that season.

Headlining the Duke offense is senior attackman Ned Crotty with a career-best 49 points, which includes a career-high eight points against the Cavaliers during the regular season. He leads the league and ranks second in the nation in assists with 36, while his 49 points is second in the ACC. Junior Max Quinzani paces the conference in goals with 35 to his name and 40 points overall. Both reached the 100-career points mark this season. Sophomore Zach Howell has 26 points from 14 goals and 12 assists, while redshirt freshman Justin Turri has come on strong in the last half of the season to post 15 goals and nine helpers.

Winners in eight of their past nine games, the Blue Devils are playing outstanding defense. They have allowed more than 10 goals just once this season and only gave up 10-plus three times. Anchored by defensive stalwarts Mike Manley, Ryan McFadyen and Parker McKee, Duke is giving up just 7.85 goals per game overall and sports a 7.44 goals against average in the past nine contests. Senior Sam Payton leads the way at faceoffs, winning 123-of-214 for a .575 win percentage. He also leads the team with 73 ground balls. Rookie CJ Costabile also sees time at the X and holds a 22-of-37 record for a .595 win percentage. Picking up 50 ground balls on the year, he also is a threat on offense with four goals and four assists. In goal, senior Rob Schroeder is 10-3 overall with a 7.78 goals against average and a .505 save percentage.

Virginia regained the top spot in the national rankings this week after Princeton fell to Cornell over the weekend. The Cavaliers (13-1) are coming off of a 13-6 win over Dartmouth. Their lone loss came at the hands of Duke on April 11 in Durham.

Danny Glading headlines the offense with 49 points, including a team-high 26 assists. Garrett Billings paces the Cavaliers in scoring with 32 tallies and 48 points overall. They have six players with 20-plus points and three with over 40 this season.  Rookie Steele Stanwick has 29 goals and 13 assists for 42 points. Chad Gaudet lines up for the majority of the faceoffs and is 148-of-271 in restarts for a .546 win percentage. He also leads the team with 82 ground balls.

Defensively, Virginia is solid as it allows its opponents just 7.56 goals per game. The 15 goals by Duke during the regular season were tied with the most allowed by the Cavaliers in 2009 as they have allowed 10-plus goals just five times. In goal, Adam Ghitelman is 12-1 with a 7.95 goals against average and a .553 save percentage.

Live stats and live video through ACC Select will be available for the semifinals games. The championship contest will be aired on FSN South, CSN Mid-Atlantic, NESN and SunSports. Links for all mediums are available at www.GoDuke.com.