FOXBOROUGH, Mass.—The Duke University men’s lacrosse team suffered a 17-7 loss to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament Semifinal this afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The second-seeded Orange outscored the third-seeded Blue Devils 9-3 in the second half to advance to the NCAA Championship on Monday, May 25.
Duke (15-4) advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the past five seasons and is 2-3 all-time in semifinal contests. The 15 wins for Duke mark the third most wins in Duke single season history.
“First off, hats to Syracuse head coach (John) Desko, his staff and his student-athletes,” head coach John Danowski said. “What a great performance by them. We certainly respect so much of their history and tradition and they certainly lived up to that today. We though they were terrific. If we made a mistake, they capitalized and we tip our caps to Syracuse for a job well done.”
Junior Max Quinzani led all Duke scorers with three goals and an assist for four points, while sophomore Zach Howell had three tallies. Quinzani’s hat trick is the ninth time the Duxbury, Mass., native has registered at least two goals in an NCAA Tournament game. Senior Ned Crotty added two assists in the game, falling just one shy of tying the Duke single season mark.
“Right off the bat, they pressured all over the place. We couldn’t get around. I know that first play, I wanted to take a wing dodge, we couldn’t even get it to my side. [Zach] Howell ended up taking it on the inside. We weren’t really ready to play at that point.”
The Orange had nine different players with a goal, with Patrick Perritt and Kenny Nims leading the way with four goals apiece and five points overall. Syracuse scored four straight in the final 5:54 of the third quarter to pull away and cruise to the 10-goal win.
Syracuse got on the board first at 13:08 as Chris Daniello snuck a shot in from the right side of the crease for the early 1-0 lead. The Orange made it 2-0 six minutes later when Joel White picked up a loose ball and ripped his shot high into the corner.
Duke quickly answered, winning the ensuing faceoff and putting the ball in the stick of senior Ned Crotty. Setting up behind the cage, Crotty fed sophomore Zach Howell on the right side. Howell stepped up and rifled his shot into the right upper ninety to cut the lead to 2-1 after nearly nine minutes of action.
Grabbing a save, Schroeder passed the ball to junior Parker McKee who battled his way up the field to successfully clear. Drawing a penalty in the clear attempt, Duke earned its first man-up opportunity of the afternoon. On the man-up, Crotty took the ball just inside the box and roped a pass to Howell for a goal on the doorstep.
All even at two, Syracuse answered with a pair of unanswered in the final 35 seconds to take a 4-2 lead after 15 minutes.
Duke needed just 11 seconds in the second quarter to make it a one-goal game again. The Blue Devils picked up the opening faceoff and raced down the field. After a flurry of quick passes, senior Sam Payton found junior Max Quinzani on the crease to make it 4-3 at the 14:49 mark.
The goal by Quinzani marked his 46th consecutive game with at least one point.
The Orange’s offense continued to run at Duke, adding two more goals to pull ahead 6-3 at the 7:28 mark of the second quarter. Needing an answer, Duke came back with a tally from senior Brad Ross to make it 6-4 with 7:06 left in the third.
Syracuse put together another two-goal stretch over the next three minutes to take its largest lead of the game at 8-4. The Blue Devils were able to generate some offense, but could not cut into the lead as they headed into the locker room down 8-4.
The Orange came out of the gates fast in the second half, taking just seven seconds to score for the 9-4 lead. The five-goal deficit matched Duke’s largest deficit of the season. The last time the Devils were down by five came against Maryland (9-4) on Feb. 28.
With Syracuse looking to clear, Howell made a great play in forcing Pat Perritt out of bounds to give Duke the ball back. Howell continued his stellar afternoon on the next possession, tallying his third of the game to pull Duke within four at 9-5.
Much like the Orange did in the first half, Syracuse responded with two unanswered to make it a 10-5 game. Syracuse responded with at least two goals to Duke’s one score four different times in the game.
Quinzani got Duke back within four, registering his second marker of the game and his 45th of the season. It was all Syracuse over the final five minutes of the quarter as it stretched its lead to 14-6 after 45 minutes of action.
A goal by Quinzani to start the fourth made it 14-7, but the Orange finished the game out with three to secure the 17-7 victory and advance to the national title match.
The Blue Devils finish the year with a 15-4 record. They are 16-13 all-time in NCAA Tournament action.