CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Duke scored four unanswered in the fourth quarter to overcome a two-goal deficit and earn a thrilling 12-11 victory over Harvard in non-conference men’s lacrosse action at Harvard Stadium Saturday night. The Blue Devils stretch their win streak to six games with the win.
Jordan Wolf led all Duke goal scorers with three tallies, while Case Matheis added two goals and an assist. Duke had four different goal scorers in the fourth quarter and seven different scores overall in the game.
“I’ll tell you what,” said head coach John Danowski. “Harvard played great. It was a great atmosphere to play in just as it was in 2010. It was a great crowd, but I’m very proud of our guys. We told them after the game that they need to be in games like this. In the growth of every team you need to figure out what you’re going to do when you’re down a couple of goals with five or six minutes left and I thought our guys really responded well and were able to finish the game.”
The first half was a back and forth affair featuring five ties as the Blue Devils and Crimson went into the locker room even at 5-5. Duke scored first three minutes into the contest with a strike from Matheis before Harvard answered four minutes later.
That trend continued as the Blue Devils went up by a goal three more times just to have the Crimson respond with a tally. In the second quarter, Harvard held Duke scoreless for 8:11 and squeezed in a pair of goals to take a 5-4 lead with 3:22 to play in the first half. The Blue Devils, behind for the first time of the night, was able to answer 1:14 later with a marker from Josh Dionne to head into the locker room even 5-5.
Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first half as Duke totaled eight and Harvard had 10. The Blue Devils managed to clear just 7-fo-12 times, but held the slight 16-15 edge in ground balls.
Wolf and Matheis added tallies in the third quarter, but consecutive man-up scores from Harvard gave the Crimson the lead again with 14:42 to play in the fourth quarter.
After Jake Tripucka evened the score again for Duke, Harvard took advantage of another man-up opportunity for the 9-8 lead with 8:16 left to play in the fourth quarter. Just 42 seconds later, Harvard took the first two-goal lead of the game by either squad as Peter Schwartz scored his second of the day.
Trailing by two with 7:38 to play, the Blue Devils answered with a four-goal run over a span of 3:32 to go in front 12-10 with 2:53 to play in regulation. Wolf started the scoring spurt with his 16th hat trick of his career and seventh of the season and Haus evened the score 12 seconds later with his second marker of the game. Offit came up with another huge goal for the Blue Devils to give Duke the lead for the first time since 9:28 in the third quarter, while Dionne completed the run with his second tally of the game with 2:53 remaining.
Harvard cut the lead to one, 12-11, with 1:14 to play and won the ensuing faceoff to set up a thrilling final minute of lacrosse. The Crimson called a timeout to set up an opportunity for a tying goal with just under a minute to play. Duke’s defense was outstanding in not allowing the Crimson a good look at the cage as the clocked ticked down under 15 seconds.
As the clock ticked down to under 10, it appeared as if the Blue Devils might have wrapped up the victory as a flag went flying into the air for a pushing penalty on Duke with eight seconds to remaining. A perfect 3-for-3 on man-up opportunities for the night, the Crimson extra man offense was back on the field in search of the tying score. Harvard took the ball behind the cage and fired a pass through the crease where sophomore goaltender Kyle Turri intercepted a pass from behind the cage to ice the victory for the Blue Devils.
Harvard’s Murphy Vandervelde led the squad with three goals, while Peter Schwartz finished with two goals and two assists. Harry Krieger made nine stops in the cage for the Crimson.
Junior Brendan Fowler was outstanding at the faceoff X again, winning 18-of-26 draws and picking up nine ground balls. Luke Duprey also had an outstanding evening with three caused turnovers and six ground balls. In goal, Kyle Turri made 10 saves to earn his sixth win of the campaign.
“I thought Luke Duprey between the lines was terrific,” Danowski said. “He was really really good between the lines and I thought was a presence on the field. Brendan Fowler continues to be tremendously consistent. Will Haus between the lines, not only playing defense, but scoring two goals tonight. For us everything is a team concept. It depends on different days who is going to stand out but certainly today those are some of the guys.”