CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-Duke University sophomore Josh Dionne scored three goals and junior goaltender Dan Wigrizer made two saves in the final seconds to push top-seeded Duke into the men's lacrosse ACC Championship game with a 6-5 win over No. 4 seed Maryland at Klöckner Stadium. Duke advances to the title game for the 13th time in program history.
The seventh-ranked Blue Devils push their win streak to nine games and improved to 12-3 overall for the year. Duke is now 19-16 all-time in the ACC Tournament and 8-3 as the No. 1 seed. The 11 combined goals in the game were the fewest in a Duke-Maryland game since a 5-4 Terrapin victory in 1948 and the lowest combined score in ACC Tournament history.
"First of all I want to say that I'm extremely proud of our team," head coach John Danowski said. "I'm very proud of how the team has evolved over the past seven weeks. With that being said it was for me a typical ACC street fight. Physical, tough, but clean and fair. And while I know not a lot of goals were scored it was a great college lacrosse game."
The hat trick by Dionne was his seventh of the year and gives him 31 goals for the year. Justin Turri, Christian Walsh and CJ Costabile also added goals for the Blue Devils. Wigrizer finished with 10 saves for Duke, including three in the fourth quarter.
The first half featured three ties and one lead change as neither squad managed to get more than a two-goal lead. Costabile wasted no time giving the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead as he took the opening faceoff right down the field and netted his fifth goal of the season just six seconds into the game.
Maryland (7-4) and Duke proceeded to trade two-goal runs, leaving the Blue Devils with a 3-2 lead at the 8:54 mark of the second quarter. The Terrapins picked up an extra-man goal 40 seconds later to tie the game for the second time of the evening.
All square at three apiece and Duke holding the final possession of the first half, Dionne had perhaps the most exciting play of the game. After the ball was knocked loose to the ground, Dionne managed to pick it up in a swarm of defensemen with his back to the goal and throw it past Maryland goalie Niko Amato for a 4-3 Duke lead at the break. Amato finished with seven saves.
"It was a scrap there in the middle," Dionne said. "And all week we've been working on scrapping and we focus on that every day. So when the ball is on the ground I'm going to be fighting for it. I was just fortunate to come up with the ball and another thing we do in practice is knowing where the net is so I had full confidence and it just so happened to go in this time."
The defensive battle continued in the second half with the squads combining for four goals and 31 shots overall, 10 of which were on goal.
Turri gave Duke its largest lead of the game 1:27 into the third quarter on an unassisted tally. After an extra-man score from Maryland's Mike Chanenchuk made it a one-goal game again, 5-4, at the end of the third quarter, Duke went up two, 6-4, 22 seconds into the final session with Dionne's third goal of the game. Tommy Patterson provided the assist on what proved to be the deciding goal.
Joe Cummings netted his second tally of the game to pull the Terrapins within one and set up the thrilling finish. Maryland forced Duke into a turnover with 1:25 to play and quickly cleared. The Without a timeout remaining, the Terrapins managed two shots in the final 19 seconds, but Wigrizer stood tall and made both stops and picked up the loose ball with two seconds left to secure the victory.
"I love playing under two [minutes] with a one-goal lead," Wigrizer said. "You know they're going to shoot so I just stay relaxed and expect a shot and don't be caught off guard whether there are 20 seconds or one second left."
Costabile won 7-of-12 faceoffs and picked up three ground ball. Michael Manley helped anchor the defense with four grounders and two caused turnovers. Both squads had 31 shots, while Duke edged Maryland in the ground ball game, 27-26.
Duke will play the winner of the No. 2 Virginia - No. 3 North Carolina game. The championship game is set for 3:30 p.m., on ESPNU.
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