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Duke Athletics | March 31, 2023

No. 4 Duke men's lacrosse takes down No. 1 Virginia, 16-14

2022 NCAA men's lacrosse championship highlights

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Duke junior Brennan O'Neill registered nine points from six goals and three assists to lead the fourth-ranked Blue Devils to a 16-14 victory over No. 1 Virginia.

The win is the eighth straight for Duke as the Blue Devils improve to 10-1 overall and 3-0 in league action. Virginia falls to 7-2 and 1-1 in ACC play. Garrett Leadmon and Dyson Williams both added hat tricks, while senior defenseman Kenny Brower matched up against Virginia's Connor Shellenberger and held him to just three assists on extra-man goals.

WATCHLIST: See the full list of who's in play for the 2023 Tewaaraton Award 

How it Happened

  • Garrett Leadmon was the story offensively for the Blue Devils in the first quarter, scoring twice to send the Blue Devils into the first break with a 3-2 lead. O'Neill opened the scoring for the Blue Devils, who also had eight turnovers in the first period. 
  • Led by the play of William Helm in the cage, the Blue Devils were solid defensively in the opening frame. Helm had six saves in the period as Duke forced four turnovers and held the Cavaliers to 10 shots.
  • The Blue Devils got off to a fast start in the second quarter, scoring four times in 2:39 for a 7-2 lead after five minutes of action. Four different players scored in the spurt with O'Neill keying the run with a man-up goal and Aidan Danenza bookending the action after beating his man one-on-one.  Williams and Owen Caputo sandwiched in tallies in between.
  • Virginia's Payton Cormier got his second and third of the six he had on the evening midway through the second quarter to stop Duke's run and pull the Cavaliers back within three.
  • Duke answered, capitalizing off a turnover. Senior Jake Caputo took a pass from O'Neill and found Williams on the right pipe for his second goal of the night.
  • The back and forth between the two heavyweight teams continued as Virginia responded with two unanswered to make it 8-6 at halftime.
  • After Virginia scored two of the first three goals in the third quarter to pull within one, the Blue Devils responded with three unanswered in a span of 1:21 to extend the lead back to four, 12-8. O'Neill had two in the spurt, while Leadmon had markers 34 seconds apart to extend the lead back to three, 11-8. Leadmon continued his stellar evening with his third.
  • The Cavaliers capitalized on a full-time penalty by the Blue Devils, throwing in two man-up goals to get back within one again, but Duke once again had the answer with three straight in the final 3:47, including one with 11 ticks on the clock from Williams.
  • O'Neill was back at it again to start the fourth, scoring his sixth of the night to give Duke the five-goal lead. Defensively, the Blue Devils continued to hold strong in holding the Cavaliers without a goal for the first six minutes of the final stanza.
  • Virginia tightened up its defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Blue Devils without a goal for the final 13:36 of the game. However, Duke's defense was up to the task as it held the Cavaliers to two extra-man goals in the final seven minutes.
  • The nation's top-ranked offense had chances down the stretch, but Duke answered the call with a Naso win the faceoff dot and Helm making a massive stop with 37 seconds left to ice the 16-14 victory.
  • Helm finished the night with 14 saves to secure his 10th win of the season. Matthew Nunes also made 14 stops in 60 minutes of action.
  • Naso went 14-of-34 at the draw and picked up five ground balls. 

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  • Head coach John Danowski improves to 24-4 all-time against Virginia and 21-2 as the leader of the Blue Devil program. Duke has not lost to Virginia in the regular season since 2004. The Blue Devils are 22-2 overall against the Cavaliers since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. 
  • Brennan O'Neill registered his eighth five-plus point game this season and the 18th of his career. His six goals marked his fourth sock trick of his career. He now has 22 points in his three outings against the Cavaliers.
  • Dyson Williams notched his seventh hat trick of the season and 25th of his career, while Garrett Leadmon had his third goal of the game. 
  • Virginia's Connor Shellenberger finished the night with just three assists. He entered the contest averaging 5.62 points per game. All three of his assists came on man-up scores. Duke has held the Cavalier attackman to just two goals and four assists in three games. 

Up Next

  • The Blue Devils continue ACC play at Notre Dame Saturday, April 8. Faceoff is set for 4 p.m., in Arlotta Stadium.

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