Turri, Wigrizer lead Duke
Blue Devils grab first tourney win against Orange in four tries
DURHAM, N.C. -- Redshirt senior midfielder Justin Turri had three goals and two assists while junior goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer posted 12 saves as third-seeded Duke defeated Syracuse12-9 in NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament action on Saturday afternoon.
"I think it was our most complete game to date," head coach John Danowski said. "Certainly as a coach we saw a lot of areas where we could be better. I thought in the clearing game we threw the ball away several times where situations we need to look at and practice. I thought the fourth quarter we handled very well. During the past we hadn't handled fourth quarters very well. And I thought the seniors, Robert Rotanz and Justin Turri, led the charge with some great decision making on the offensive end of the field."
While improving to 14-4 on the season, the Blue Devils advance next Sunday's quarterfinal round to meet Colgate. Duke has won 17 of its last 22 NCAA tournament games dating back to 2005 and picked up the program's first postseason victory against Syracuse in four tries.
"The NCAA tournament filled with tough teams," Danowski said. "Whoever you are going to play is going to be terrific. When we heard that it was Syracuse I think it got everybody's attention immediately. So the focus in practice all week was undeniable in terms of the guys' readiness to accept whatever it is that the coaching is going to throw at them. I thought that we had a great week of preparation. It's Syracuse. It's very hard to say that this is a different team. It's not. They are talented, athletic with a great coaching staff and a tremendous tradition. They are who we want to be one day. With all their championships and what they've accomplished in our sport. I thought their kids played hard. They played for 60 minutes. It was a hell of a Division I lacrosse game."
The Orange concludes the 2012 campaign with a 9-8 overall ledger.
The Blue Devils, who pushed their nation's best current home winning streak to 10 games and are now 59-6 (.908) at home under head coach John Danowski, jumped on top 3-0 in the first five minutes of action with Turri sandwiching two markers around a goal by Jordan Wolf. Syracuse's Scott Loy broke the ice for the Orange with 37 seconds left in the opening period.
After Duke received goals from Robert Rotanz and Christian Walsh to claim a 5-1 advantage, Syracuse countered with a four-goal spurt to tie the contest at 5-5 just 25 seconds into the third period when Kevin Drew scored on a feed from Matt Harris. The Blue Devils then responded with four consecutive goals of their own as Rotanz tallied twice while Josh Dionne and Walsh netted one marker apiece.
"We were attacking from X," Rotanz said. "Jordan Wolf and Jake Tripucka were doing a great job of finding the open guy. They were throwing great through passes to shooters up top and we just did a great job of shooting and getting it on net and finding spots where the goalie couldn't save. Obviously when you have the ball that much because of faceoffs it makes it easier to get in the flow offensively."
Duke is now 23-14 (.622) all-time in NCAA Tournament action and next week will look to advance to the program's sixth straight national semifinal. Under Danowski, the Blue Devils are 14-4 (.778) in post-season play.
"We talk a lot about playing for one more week," Turri said. "As a fifth-year senior this could be my last week of playing Duke lacrosse. So just to come out every day in practice and put on the pads, come out one more time next weekend in Philly, that's just what's driving me and the seniors. Hanging out with the guys for one more week and not looking past the day. Whether it's practice, a meeting a team meal and cherishing every moment we have with these guys. Because who knows we may never be as one group again so I'm not looking past anything."