No. 2 Seed Duke Rolls Past No. 3 Seed Virginia, 16-5
April 24, 2009
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Duke attackman Ned Crotty proved just why he was named the 2009 ACC Player of the Year as the senior led the sixth-ranked Blue Devils to an 16-5 victory over top-ranked Virginia Friday night at Kenan Stadium in the semifinals of the 2009 ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship.
With the win, Duke advances to face fourth-seed and long-time rival North Carolina Sunday, 3:30 p.m. at UNC's Kenan Stadium. The Blue Devils, who improved to 11-3 on the season, look to capture their third straight ACC Championship title and fifth overall crown. The Tar Heels seek their first ACC Championship title since 1996 and eighth overall.
“Tonight was totally unexpected,” said Duke head coach John Danowski. “We were playing the number one team in the country, and you know how talented they are, so it was totally unexpected. I think we had good efforts from a lot of people and it finished a total group effort - a team victory.”
Crotty, who leads the ACC in assists and points per game, lead all players in the four statistical categories, including four goals, four assists, eight points, and 12 shots. The veteran added five ground balls in the winning effort and has now scored at least four points in eight games this season.
“I have to give credit first and foremost to Duke,” said 2009 ACC Coach of the Year and Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “I thought they played very, very well and we failed to capitalize early and it seemed like every time we didn’t get something, they got something.”
Virginia standout Danny Glading put the Cavaliers on the boards only 11 seconds following the opening face-off; however, Crotty quickly answered as the teams were knotted at 1-1 within 19 seconds of semifinal action. The Blue Devils rattled four more goals, finishing the first period with a 5-2 advantage.
The second stanza saw Duke tally two more goals, an unassisted Crotty score and a goal by junior attackman Will McKee, assisted by sophomore Zach Howell.
Virginia fought to hold off the Blue Devil offense, but Duke proved too much in the third period, scoring six more unanswered goals into the fourth period and extending the lead to 13-2.
To open the final stanza, sophomore Zach Howell recorded back-to-back goals, while Crotty, who assisted on a Howell goal, tallied his fourth and final goal of the night with 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
Virginia midfielder Shamel Bratton ended a 37-minute Cavalier scoring drought midway through the fourth quarter with an assist from senior Garrett Billings. Virginia then traded goals with the Blue Devils to end the game. Jay Jennison tallied the 15th Duke goal, followed by Virginia’s Steve Giannone, assisted by Glading, while Duke’s Stephen Coyle and UVa’s Chris Bocklet wrapped up the scoring efforts in the second semifinal game of the day.
Sophomore Garett Ince won 10-of-15 face-offs for the Cavalier, despite the two teams concluding the game tied at 24 apiece. The Blue Devils won the ground ball battle with a slight edge of 38-33.
In the cage for the Duke, Rob Schroeder made seven saves in just over 52 minutes of action, while Virginia’s Adam Ghitelman collected nine stops.
“From top to bottom, the four ACC teams here tonight are no doubt four of the finest teams in the country,” Starsia stated. “And this is a hard weekend when you have to play each other like this. Today we just weren’t up to the test and credit to Duke for playing very well.”
The championship game on Sunday will be televised by the league’s regional sports network: FSN South, Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic, NESN and SunSports.