April 11, 2014

Duke Out-Guns Virginia in Friday Shootout

by Drew Goodman | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Myles Jones led the Duke offense with four goals and a pair of assists Friday night in Charlottesville. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

In-Game Blog Replay


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Back on March 9th, the Duke men's lacrosse team travelled to Baltimore, Maryland and suffered a decisive loss to then-fifth-ranked Loyola. In the defeat, the Blue Devils were held to just seven goals and shot just 22 percent, thanks in part to the Greyhounds' zone defense.

32 Days and six consecutive victories later, Duke turned one its early weaknesses into a strength against eighth-ranked Virginia on Friday night. The second-ranked Blue Devils shot 50 percent from the field and solved the Cavaliers' zone in a hard-fought 17-15 triumph at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville.

Duke continued their dominance in this series, as the Devils have now taken 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Cavaliers. The victory also ensures Duke (11-2) at least a share of the Regular Season ACC Title.

Friday's clash between the Blue Devils and Virginia was a game full of runs, but it was Duke's 5-0 surge in the second quarter that would be the deciding factor. Thanks to a 7-3 advantage on face offs during the frame, the Devils overcame a two-goal deficit to create a 10-6 lead that lasted nearly until halftime, before UVa's Ryan Tucker cashed in just two seconds before the break.

Deemer Class, who acted as the facilitator on offense dished out of one his three assists to Myles Jones, and he faked out Virginia goalie, Matt Barrett to give Duke the lead for good with 6:21 left in the second quarter.

Swift ball movement by the Duke offense caused some assignment confusion in the Cavalier zone, and the Devils notched five consecutive goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

"Over the course of the year, we're seeing more zone, so it was all about getting more reps in practice, which led to more reps in games," said Duke head coach, John Danowski after the win.

"We didn't force a lot of shots, and the shots that we did take were high-percentage shots. There were not too many that I thought we regretted taking tonight. Our shooters did a great job of getting in the middle of the field, and I think that it would have been tough for any goalie to make those saves.

Added Jones, "We made it really our plan to practice against the zone against Loyola and we saw that Virginia played some zone [against North Carolina]. We made it one of our keys to move the ball, getting our hands back, move our attackmen, and stretch them out, and we were able to get good shots."

Jones was a load for the Cavalier defense to handle at 6-4, 240 pounds. The junior muscled his way to six points, off of four goals and two big assists to lead all scorers.

Three other Blue Devils notched hat tricks, as Christian Walsh, Jordan Wolf, and Josh Dionne each took turns being the hero on offense. It was Dionne that answered a 3-0 run by Virginia with back-to-back goals within 40 seconds of each other, when the Cavs cut the lead to 13-11 in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 17-12 with less than four minutes to play, the Cavaliers made one final attempt to get back into the game. Two consecutive goals by James Pannell brought the capacity crowd to its feet, and an unassisted strike from Greg Coholan cut the Devils' lead to just two with 2:29 to play.

The Wahoos had possession with 45 seconds remaining, but Mark Cockerton's attempt sailed wide right, and the Blue Devils ran out the clock to escape Klockner Stadium with the win.

Turnovers were an issue for Duke, as the Blue Devils coughed it up 16 times, compared to just two for Virginia. Several miscues on offense led to Cavalier possessions, which helped spark the late UVa rally.

Duke was paced by its dominance inside the faceoff circle, holding a 22-13 advantage in that category, including collecting nine of ten in the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers outshout Duke 53-34 on the night, but Luke Aaron used nearly every part of his body to frustrate the UVa offense to record 14 saves.

Friday was not a banner evening for Virginia's starting attack, as the trio combined to shoot just 16 percent. Pannell led the way with three goals, while sophomore midfielder, Coholan added two.

Since 1938, the Cavaliers have defeated Duke 49 times, tied for the most of any opponent, but the Devils continued their recent dominance against the Orange and Blue on Friday night. The Cavs have not defeated Duke in the regular season since 2005.

"We wanted this one," Virginia head coach Dom Starsia said. "When you look ahead in terms of the post season and what the possibilities are, it would have been nice to get another one under our belt here. We're still at the point for me where I am looking for something from my team; are we going to get better? Are we going to battle? Are we going to do some of those things? I thought I saw some of that tonight, and that's something we can build on."

Freshman goalie, Matt Barrett allowed 12 goals and was relived by Dan Marino in the third quarter. Marino allowed five scores, but came up with the first save of his career with less than a minute remaining to keep Virginia's dream of a rally temporarily alive.

Virginia is now eliminated from potentially qualifying for the ACC tournament. The Cavaliers will host Bellarmine next Saturday, before meeting either North Carolina or Syracuse in the ACC showcase game in Chester, Pennsylvania on April 26th.

The Blue Devils will host Rutgers next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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