Duke makes return trip to semifinals
Fifth-seeded Blue Devils will face Terps in semis
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Defending NCAA champion Duke scored three times in the fourth quarter to beat Notre Dame 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the men’s lacrosse tournament on Sunday.
The fifth-seeded Blue Devils will face Atlantic Coast Conference-rival Maryland in the semifinals Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Virginia will play Denver in the other semifinal.
Westy Hopkins had three goals for fourth-seeded Fighting Irish (11-3).
Duke and Notre Dame were tied at 4 after three quarters, but Jordan Wolf, Tucker Virtue and Robert Rotantz scored for the Blue Devils in the final period.
Dan Wigrizer, returning to the lineup after missing a game due to a concussion, had 14 saves in the rematch of the 2010 title game, won by Duke 6-5 in overtime.
Duke Coach John Dankowski said the decision to play Wigrizer wasn’t made until late Saturday night.
“I knew they were going to take shots right away, which they did on their first possession. They just kept shooting and shooting,” he said.
All that shooting led to Notre Dame taking a 3-1 first quarter lead on two goals by Hopkins and one by Eric Keppeler. Christian Walsh scored for Duke.
David Lawson and Justin Turri scored in the second to tie it for Duke and Wigrizer made several key saves.
The Blue Devils kept Notre Dame off the board for a 28-minute span stretching from the end of the first quarter until Max Pfeifer’s man-advantage goal with 2:30 left in the third quarter made it 4-4.
“You have to make plays no win this time of year and we didn’t make enough plays,” Notre Dame Coach Kevin Corrigan said. “We had our opportunities. We just didn’t make the plays.”
“We got a lot of good looks,” Hopkins said. “It just came down to finishing.”
Duke took charge in the fourth quarter. Wolf circled the goal and put it right between the legs of goalie John Kemp to make it 5-4.
Walsh found Virtue alone in front to make it 6-4 and Rotanz’s high shot from the slot beat Kemp for a 7-4 lead.
Dankowski paid tribute to both the toughness of the Notre Dame defense in what he called a “street fight” and his team’s own tenacity.
“Defensively, after giving up 14 goals last week, I think our guys took it personally,” he said. “Our coaches took it personally.”
Turri, who had two goals, said the three ACC teams in the final four is no accident.
“With a few exceptions, the ACC is the cream of the crop in Division I lacrosse,” said Turri, adding the competition in the league really prepares teams for the postseason.
He said if North Carolina didn’t have to play Maryland in the first round, there could have been four ACC teams heading to Baltimore next weekend.
The attendance at Gillette Stadium for Sunday’s games was 14,122, the second-highest total for quarterfinal games in NCAA lacrosse tourney history.