FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Duke University sophomore goaltender Dan Wigrizer made 14 saves to anchor the sixth-ranked Blue Devils to a 7-5 victory over fifth-ranked Notre Dame in front of 14,122 fans at the NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinals at Gillette Stadium. Duke advances to the championship weekend for the fifth straight season and for the seventh time overall.
Duke (14-5) will play unseeded Maryland on May 28 at M&T Bank Stadium at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2. It will be the third meeting between the two squads this season.
"This is the fourth time I've played Notre Dame," Wigrizer said." I'm kind of used to it. Already the fourth time in two years with an out-of-conference team, which is an incredible amount of games. I was just excited to play them, I knew they were going to come out shooting. They were going to start taking shots right away, which they did. The first possession they had, they just kept shooting and shooting. Unlike last year, when they had 10 total shots on goal in the championship game, they got a lot of shots on goal today and I was just ready and prepared to be seeing shots the entire day and I just wanted to stay calm and relaxed and just let the shots come from them."
Justin Turri led all Blue Devils with two goals, while Christian Walsh and David Lawson both had a goal and an assist. Notre Dame's (11-3) Westy Hopkins led all scorers with three goals. The win was head coach John Danowski's 299th career victory and 80th at Duke.
After falling behind 3-1 to start the game, Duke rattled off a 6-1 run to earn the two-goal victory. Overall Duke had six different goal scorers in the game.
The Irish scored the game's first two goals and took a 3-1 lead with a tally from Hopkins with 11 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Walsh netted Duke's lone goal in the period with a low shot right past Notre Dame (11-3) goaltender John Kemp.
After managing just six shots in the first stanza and falling behind 3-1, Duke put together quality possessions in the second frame. Turri threw in his first marker of the day just 1:23 into the second quarter to make it a 3-2 contest. The Blue Devils defense clamped down on Notre Dame's offense throughout the 15 minutes, holding it to nine shots and no goals.
Midway through the quarter, sophomore David Lawson got in the scoring column for Duke with a split dodge and shot from 12 yards out to make it 3-3. The Blue Devils had the final possession of the half, but Turri's shot sailed right of the cage to send the teams to the locker rooms even at three. Wigrizer was outstanding in the first 30 minutes with 11 saves.
After scoring two unanswered in the second quarter, Duke continued to stifle the Irish offense, running Notre Dame's scoreless streak to nearly 28 minutes. Meanwhile, Turri netted his second goal of the afternoon to give Duke's its first lead of the game at 4-3 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
The Irish responded two minutes later to even the score for the second time. Knotted at four after 45 minutes of action, Duke rookie Jordan Wolf got on the board for the first time of the afternoon to give the Blue Devils the 5-4 edge just 90 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Wolf's tally jump-started a three-goal run that gave Duke a 7-4 advantage with 3:44 left in regulation. Senior Tucker Virtue notched his first career NCAA Tournament goal 3:33 later to give Duke a two-goal cushion and that proved to be all Duke needed as junior Robert Rotanz threw in an insurance goal with 3:44 left to play.
In between Duke's sixth and seventh goals was an outstanding defensive effort by the Blue Devils that ended with Wigrizer intercepting a pass to give Duke the ball with 5:23 left to play. The Blue Devils proceeded to run off nearly two minutes on the clock before Rotanz put the game away with his 23rd goal of the season.
The Irish won the ensuing faceoff, but Duke's defense came away with two big caused turnovers from Turri and senior Terrence Molinari to keep Notre Dame to just two shots in those final 3:44. The Irish did manage one goal with 16 ticks left, but Duke's three goal lead was too much.
Duke's second-half defense was outstanding. The Blue Devils forced Notre Dame into eight turnovers and held it to only 12 shots and just five on goal. The five goals allowed by Duke match the fewest this season and marks the seventh time the Blue Devils have allowed five or fewer goals in an NCAA Tournament game.
"I thought today - I agree with [our players] - this was our best performance defensively and that's part of just gaining experience together and playing together," Danowski said.
Notre Dame won the majority of the statistical categories, outshooting Duke 34-28 and picking up 27 ground balls to the Blue Devils' 18. In goal, Kemp finished with eight saves for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame also won the battle at the X, winning 11-of-16 restarts behind Liam O'Connor and Jake Marmul.
Duke, the reigning NCAA Champions, will take on seventh-ranked Maryland in the second semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium on May 28 at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Duke is 22-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and has won six straight dating back to the 2010 championship season ... Duke is 7-4 in NCAA Quarterfinal contests and 8-2 as the No. 5 seed ... Duke is now 2-7 when scoring fewer than 10 goals in the NCAA Tournament with both wins coming against Notre Dame .... Head Coach John Danowski is now 299-158 as a head coach and 80-18 in his five seasons at Duke ... The Blue Devils also appeared in the NCAA Semifinals in 1997, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 ... Duke had at least five different goal scorers in a game for the 17th game this season ... Justin Turri's two goals 10 goals and 17 points in the NCAA Tournament are just outside of the top 10 in the Duke NCAA Tournament records ... Wigrizer's 14 saves are tied for 10th in Duke NCAA Tournament single-game history ... He moves up to sixth in career saves (29) in the NCAA Tournament among Blue Devil goaltenders ... The win marked the first time Duke has won a game when not picking up more ground balls ... Sophomore David Lawson pushed his scoring streak to 15 games with a goal and an assist ... Duke will meet Maryland for the fourth time in the NCAA Tournament, sporting a 2-1 overall record against the Terrapins.