Top-Seeded Duke Survives Maryland to Advance to ACC Title Game

April 20, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—In a game that was amazingly close in almost every statistical category possible, the top-seed Duke Blue Devils edged the fourth-seeded Maryland Terrapins 6-5 in the first semifinal of the 2012 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship.

The scoring started quickly as Duke got on the board first with a sudden strike by CJ Costabile six seconds into the game. Maryland answered shortly thereafter on Joe Cummings goal with 11:45 left in the quarter. After a nearly 10 minute scoring drought for both teams, Maryland grabbed its first lead at with 2:17 left on a goal from John Haus which was quickly answered by the Blue Devils on a Christian Walsh goal with :39 left in the quarter to end the quarter at 2-2.

The second quarter went scoreless for more than six minutes before the teams exchanged extra-man goals within 40 seconds of each other. Duke’s Josh Dionne put the Blue Devils on top with 8:54 left in the quarter off an assist from Jordan Wolf only to be matched by Maryland’s Mike Chanenchuk’s goal with 8:14 left in the quarter. Later, with only 1.2 seconds left in the half, Dionne netted his second goal of the game with a dazzling slap-shot flip off a scrum approximately 10 yards in front of the Maryland goal to give the Blue Devils a 4-3 advantage heading into the locker room.

“Coach drew up the play with me in the middle there, and we had practiced scrapping all week,” said Dionne. “We emphasize that every day so I know when the balls on the ground I’m going to be fighting for it and so is everyone else. I was just fortunate to come up with the ball. Another thing we do in practice is knowing where the net is so I had full confidence in knowing where the net was in that case.”

The game remained close throughout the third quarter. Duke struck quickly to take the first multi-goal lead of the game on Justin Turri’s goal with 13:33 left in the quarter. Maryland then responded with another extra-man goal just more than two minutes later as Chanenchuk registered his second goal of the game. Neither team was able to score the rest of the period thanks in part to a huge save by Maryland’s Niko Amato in the closing seconds to keep it a one-goal game heading into the fourth quarter.

Duke quickly opened the pivotal final quarter as Dionne secured a hat trick, his seventh of the 2012 campaign, with a strike from the right side to extend the Blue Devil lead to 6-4 with 14:38 left in the game. The Terrapins narrowed the lead to one when Cummings netted his second goal of the game with 2:09 left in the game. Maryland mustered a few shots on goal in the final minute, but Dan Wigrizer’s save with :03 remaining preserved the victory for Duke.

“I’m extremely proud of the team and where we have evolved to,” said Duke coach John Danowski. “It was an extreme fight. Physical, tough, but clean and fair. I know not a lot of goals were scored but it was a great college lacrosse game with a lot of talented athletes. My hats off to Coach Tillman and his staff on how well they played."

Each team finished with 31 shots on goal and the teams were separated by only one ground ball as Duke finished with 27 and Maryland 26. The 11 goals scored by the two teams was the lowest combined scoring game in ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship history.