DURHAM, N.C. Ė Junior Zack Greer had three goals and three assists and senior Matt Danowski added three goals and an assist to lead Duke to a 12-9 win over Virginia on Sunday afternoon to claim the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. The ACC title is the fourth overall (1995, 2001, 2002, 2007) for the Blue Devils and their first since 2002.
Duke, ranked No. 2 in the latest USILA poll, improves to 13-2 on the year with the win, while Virginia slips to 12-3 overall.
Virginia opened the scoring at the 9:52 mark with a Garrett Billings goal off a pass from Gavin Gill. Billings, a sophomore from Langley, B.C., took the pass on the right wing and slid a shot into the upper left corner of the net. Billings spotted the Cavaliers to a 2-0 lead at 7:15 with a goal from the left wing. Junior Ben Rubeor assisted on Billings’ second goal of the day.
Danowski trimmed the Duke deficit to 2-1 at 5:57 with an unassisted goal. Danowski split a pair of defenders in front of the cage and bounced in a shot from six yards out. Fred Krom tied the contest at 2-2 at the 1:27 mark with a goal from 15 yards out on the right wing. Greer assisted on the play. Danowski tacked on an unassisted goal with three seconds left in the quarter to give Duke its first lead of the day at 3-2. The Farmingdale, N.Y., native slid by a Virginia defender at the top of the box and skipped a shot past Cavalier goalie Kip Turner from 18 yards out.
Duke had the first scoring chance of the second quarter, but senior Peter Lamade hit the cross bar from directly in front of the goal two minutes into the stanza. Virginia tied the game at 3-3 when Rubeor netted a goal from 16 yards out on the right wing with 11:51 left in the half. The Cavaliers had another open scoring chance two minutes later, but Duke goalie Dan Loftus stuffed a shot by Ryan Kelly to stop a 3-on-1 breakaway. Duke countered with a scoring opportunity from Bo Carrington with 5:39 left in the half, but his shot from 10 yards out struck the right post and bounced away from goal.
Virginia regained the lead, 4-3, with 1:20 left in the half on a Jack Riley goal from in front of the cage. Riley took the scoring pass from Billings. Duke hit its third post of the quarter just over 40 seconds later when Greer hit the cross bar from six yards out on the right wing. Virginia also caught an unlucky break in the final 30 seconds of the half when Drew Thompson hit the right post from 15 yards out. The Cavaliers held Duke scoreless in the second quarter, just the fourth time this season the Blue Devils have failed to score at least one goal in a quarter.
Duke opened the third quarter with five straight goals to take an 8-4 lead at the 4:04 mark. Sophomore Mike Catalino tallied the first goal off a nice crossing pass from Carrington at 11:07 and freshman Max Quinzani gave the Blue Devils the lead with an unassisted goal off the ensuing face-off. Duke extended its lead to 6-4 at the 6:23 mark on Catalino’s second goal of the quarter. Greer added a goal off a Michael Ward pass at 4:21 and Danowski capped off the run with a goal at the 4:04 mark. Greer picked up a loose ball in front of the Virginia cage and dropped a pass over a pair of Virginia defenders to Danowski to give Duke an 8-4 advantage.
The Cavaliers stopped the Blue Devil run at 3:24 when Rubeor scored off a Gill pass to make the score 8-5. Duke moved back ahead by four goals with a Ned Crotty goal with 2:24 left to play in the third. Virginia countered with goals by Brian Carroll (2:06) and Billings (1:42) to close the gap to 9-7, but Greer rebounded a shot by Lamade and scored his second goal of the quarter with six seconds left to give Duke a 10-7 edge after three quarters.
Rubeor scored his third goal of the day at the 13:28 mark of the fourth quarter to move Virginia back within two goals at 10-8. Virginia had several scoring opportunities, including a pair of extra-man chances, over the next nine minutes of action, but Loftus came up big for the Blue Devils with four saves during the stretch. Duke broke the scoring drought at the 4:24 mark when Greer scored off a pass from Danowski. Senior Tony McDevitt collected the ensuing face-off and Quinzani scored off a Crotty pass to give Duke a 12-8 lead. Virginia added a goal from Gill off a Rubeor pass with 54 seconds left to play for a final margin of 12-9.
Loftus finished the day with 14 saves, including eight in the second half, while Turner had eight saves for the Cavaliers. Virginia posted a 41-34 edge in shots and a 16-8 mark in face-offs. Adam Fassnacht won 15-of-22 face-offs for the Cavaliers.
Quinzani and Catalino both finished with two goals for Duke, while Rubeor had three goals and two assists for the Cavaliers. Virginia also got three goals and an assist from Billings.
Danowski claimed ACC Tournament MVP honors, while Carrington (Duke), Casey Carroll (Duke), Greer (Duke), Loftus (Duke), Billings (Virginia), Rubeor (Virginia), Ricky Smith (Virginia), Turner (Virginia), Dan Groot (Maryland) and Michael Burns (North Carolina) were named to the all-tournament team.
2007 ACC All-Tournament Team
Matt Danowski, Duke (MVP)
Bo Carrington, Duke
Casey Carroll, Duke
Zack Greer, Duke
Dan Loftus, Duke
Garrett Billings, Virginia
Ben Rubeor, Virginia
Ricky Smith, Virginia
Kip Turner, Virginia
Dan Groot, Maryland
Michael Burns, North Carolina