Tag Archives: Final Four

Another Look Back: Hopkins 10, Duke 9

Inside Lacrosse, the mecca of online lacrosse coverage, has been rehashing the details of the 2008 college season and announced the “Top 10 Surprises” Wednesday. Not surprisingly, Duke’s loss to Johns Hopkins in the national semifinal made the list, coming in at No. 2, only behind national champion Syracuse’s turnaround season.

As we all know by this point, the Blue Devils decimated Hopkins 17-6 April 5, only to be slowed down offensively by the Blue Jays in Foxborough and lose 10-9 with their season and national title hopes on the line.


–by Ben Cohen

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Danowski Keeps Loss In Perspective

Audio from John Danowski

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Despite the Blue Devils’ obvious disappointment associated with coming up short of the program’s first national championship, head coach John Danowski wasn’t too outwardly upset about the loss.

“The sadness I feel–it’s not losing the game today,” Danowski said. “Listen, I’ve learned in the last two years the games aren’t that important. But you know what, I’m going to miss seeing these kids tomorrow. That’s what I’m going to miss: being with them, going to meals, being in the hotel with them for another day. I don’t get to do that now. And that’s what I’ll miss.”

Danowski praised his outgoing seniors, who helped raise the program to new heights but were unable to get over the hump and take home the national title. From the fifth-year players, who have been criticized for being allowed to play another season, to the senior class, which stuck with the program during the 2006 scandal, the head coach defended his team.

“This is one of the neatest groups of young men I’ve ever been around,” Danowski said. “There’s nothing that they don’t do well–academically, socially, community-oriented, lacrosse-wise. And the fifth-year guys had a chance to play again. They’ve been vilified for choosing to play a fifth year…. Why? You love to play lacrosse. Would you like to come back and maybe play in front of 40,000 people? I mean, come on, it’s a no-brainer for these kids…. Their legacy is they didn’t win the game today. They’re going to be very successful in life, and this is going to be a small bump in the road for all of them.”

-by Joe Drews

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The Fairness Of The Fifth Year

During a brief layover in Philadelphia before hopping a plane to Boston for this weekend’s Final Four, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye on a TV in a nearby bar.

Bob Ley was on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, which showed images of Duke lacrosse players practicing. I couldn’t hear the audio, but of course I didn’t need to. All I needed was to see Duke’s head coach, the jovial and smiling John Danowski, interviewing with a light in his face and a furrow in his brow.

Still suffering from the long-armed grasp of the alleged rape scandal that hit the front pages of every media outlet in the country two years ago, the Blue Devils were featured to discuss the legitimacy or fairness of the NCAA’s ruling last year to allow an extra season of eligibility in response to the truncated 2006 season.

Virginia’s head coach Dom Starsia has complained about the NCAA’s ruling as often and as loudly as he can since the decision was announced. And in response, I’ll offer a prediction.

If Duke does win it all, Starsia will act just like that annoying friend of yours who makes excuses whenever he loses in pickup basketball: “Well, of course they won. They had an unfair advantage.” But you didn’t see him turn away Peter Lamade, one of the “super-seniors” awarded an extra year when he transferred to Virginia, and you won’t see Lamade sitting on the bench this weekend, and you certainly won’t hear any apologies for reaping the benefits of that “unfair advantage” if the Cavaliers take home the title.

Perhaps I’m coming down too hard on one side (obviously, this post is more of a column than a feature, preview or game story). For another take on it, read Patrick Hite’s column on ACCNation.com, a piece that earned him a seat on Outside the Lines today to discuss this issue. Also check out the ESPN.com poll currently posted posed the question “What’s your opinion of the NCAA decision granting Duke lacrosse players an extra year of eligibility?” Eighty-three percent voted “Prudent and compassionate” over “Hasty overreaction.”

None of these players deserved what happened to them two years ago. And none of them want to win a championship unfairly, either. They didn’t make the trip to Boston this weekend to stir up more controversy and grab more headlines. They’re here to play lacrosse, something which was once taken from them. The fact they’re here, to me, seems like a wrong that’s been righted.

–by Matthew Iles

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LIVE BLOG: Duke vs. No. 2 Pennsylvania

FINAL, Pennsylvania 9, Duke 8: Game over, season over for Duke, which lost in the national semifinal for the fourth straight year. This time, the Blue Devils were up 7-4 before forcing overtime and finally losing 4:08 into the extra period. Carolyn Davis led the unranked Blue Devils with five goals on the night. Game story later tonight, more discussion tomorrow. What do you think of the loss?

OVERTIME, Duke 8, Pennsylvania 8: The Blue Devils squandered a 7-4 second-half lead and the Quakers took an 8-7 advantage with 5:40 left, but Duke’s Lindsay Gilbride forced overtime with a minute remaining with a goal of her own. The teams are in between periods now, and we’ll let you know who advances to the final with more analysis later on.

HALFTIME, Duke 4, Pennsylvania 3: Carolyn Davis has two goals and goalkeeper Kim Imbesi has been solid in net as the Blue Devils lead No. 2 Pennsylvania 4-3 at halftime of the national semifinal at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md.

Both offenses started well, but neither team scored in the final 12 minutes of the half.

Freshman Emma Hamm, one of Duke’s leading scorers, left the game early in the period with what appeared to be a pulled muscle and hasn’t returned. Check back after the game for more complete coverage as the Blue Devils try to advance into the national championship Sunday against top-seeded Northwestern.

–by Madeline Perez

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A History Lesson: Duke-Johns Hopkins April 5

It’s only fitting that it turned out this way.

Heading into its third Final Four in the last four seasons, Duke must once again face Johns Hopkins for a chance at the program’s first national title. The Blue Devils lost to the Blue Jays in each of their last two visits to the post-season’s last weekend, both times in the championship game.

A five-game winning streak, including a blowout win over Maryland, helped Hopkins (10-5) eek into the field of 16. Now, after 10-4 victories over Hofstra and Navy in the first two rounds, the No. 5 Blue Jays—who have won more national titles than any other school—are back in the Final Four again.

Even though Johns Hopkins suffered a program-worst five-game losing streak in the middle of the season, and even though No. 1 Duke (18-1) handed the Blue Jays their worst lost in 20 years with a 17-6 thrashing back on April 5, they are still alive. And they’re a different team, too.

“They almost didn’t make the tournament, and here they are in the Final Four,” midfielder Ned Crotty said. “Hopkins is a playoff team. They’re not the same team as they were earlier in the year.”

Crotty was a major factor in Duke’s big win over the Blue Jays earlier this year. Head coach John Danowski anticipated that Johns Hopkins would attempt to stymie stars Matt Danowski and Zack Greer by never sliding from them. Basically, the Blue Jays’ tactic was to force the other Duke players to step up and get involved.

To counter this, John Danowski inverted his offense, placing Crotty, who usually initiates from in front of the net, behind the cage. With Danowski and Greer on the wings and their defenders reluctant to slide from them, it became like an isolation play for Crotty. A strong dodger from anywhere on the field, Crotty is particularly dangerous from behind the cage, able to beat his man, turn the corner and fling the ball past opposing goalies with incredible skill. It was no different against Johns Hopkins, as Crotty scored three unassisted goals in this manner before the first half was over.

Thanks to Crotty’s success, the Blue Jays were forced to slide from Danowski and Greer more, which helped them register seven points each.

Another huge factor in that victory was Duke’s strong riding game. The Blue Jays only cleared on 13 of their 22 chances, including a 2-for-8 third quarter in which the Blue Devils piled on six goals. This has been a key aspect of Duke’s game all year long, forcing turnovers in the opponent’s defensive end and scoring quick, easy goals with the defense out of position. Johns Hopkins has shown vast improvement in this area, though, clearing on 83 percent of their opportunities in its first two playoffs games.

When asked after Duke’s 21-10 quarterfinal victory over Ohio State if he thought the Blue Jays would try a similar tactic or employ an entirely different one, Crotty said he had no idea. All he did know, he said, was that it was going to be a fun rematch.

Either way, the Blue Devils all echoed the same sentiment. It doesn’t matter who’s next, they’re ready.

“It’s just the next game,” Zack Greer said. “It’s the next team we’ve got to play. We’ve got to prepare for them, but it’s about doing our own thing. We gotta come out and play our game, we gotta play right, do the things we do best…it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”

–by Matthew Iles

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Greer, Quinzani & Co. Headed to Foxborough

Senior attackman Zack Greer poured in six goals and contributed five assists as top-seeded Duke cruised into the Final Four Sunday, pounding Ohio State 21-10 in Ithaca, N.Y. The win was Duke’s 18th of the year, setting a new NCAA season record.

Sophomore attackman Max Quinzani–who owns the second-most goals in the country, trailing only Greer–scored five of his own, and reigning Tewaaraton Trophy winner Matt Danowski chipped in with a goal and two assists.

After Ohio State scored the game’s first goal just 30 seconds in, the Blue Devils caught fire, scoring 10 unanswered goals to essentially seal the victory before the first quarter even ended. Greer posted Duke’s first goal to start the scoring barrage.

The Blue Devils next take on No. 5 Johns Hopkins next Saturday in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Duke routed the Blue Jays 17-6 back on April 5, but since then, Hopkins has won seven in a row. If you recall, the Blue Jays beat Duke in the national championship last year, so this one should be fun.

Make sure you check back with The Chronicle and The Chronicle’s Sports Blog throughout the week, as our two beat writers will be in Foxborough bringing you the best coverage of Duke Lacrosse out there, and our two photographers will be snapping pictures for you, as well.

–by Ben Cohen

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