2014 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Duke Outguns Denver, 15-12

Rob Carr

The Blue Devils have advanced to their fifth national championship game.

Duke used a four-goal run late in the second quarter and a three-goal push midway through the fourth quarter to seal a 15-12 win over Denver in the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. The win marks the Devils' fifth appearance in the national finals -- all since 2005 -- and the team's 12th victory in its last 13 outings this season. Denver exits The Big Barbecue for the second season in a row after making an appearance at Championship Weekend, a tough pill to swallow for a team that strung together a sublime 16-3 effort while challenging detractors throughout the year.

Deadlocked at four after a Wes Berg bucket with 8:15 remaining in the first half, Duke put four unanswered goals on the board in a in a 6:19 span, getting a tally from Kyle Kennan to start the burst and three consecutive hammers from Jordan Wolf. The four-goal explosion came on just five Duke possessions, two scoring postures inuring directly from faceoff wins and two others coming on defensive stops (the first on a successful back-up off of an errant Berg attempt and the second off of a Denver turnover on a clearing attempt). Duke had wrestled dominating control from the Pios, limiting Denver to just two possessions in the rush and ensuring that the Pioneers could not put together a patented run to keep the game close.

The third quarter, though, saw momentum move in Denver's favor. Jack Bobzien quickly got the Pios back into the game just 1:02 into the period, drawing Denver within three (8-5). Duke would get back-to-back tallies from Keenan and Christian Walsh, giving the Devils a five-goal advantage with 23:33 remaining in regulation. Denver then snapped: Scoring five of the game's next six goals -- the only mitigation was a Keenan bucket on a breakout situation following a Denver face-off violation -- the Pios narrowed the margin on the scoreboard to 11-9 with 15 minutes to play. The Pioneers' pop came in a 4:22 stretch, starting at the 4:51 mark of the penultimate period and ending with just 29.3 left in the quarter. Berg paced the scoring in the surge with two goals, including a backhanded beauty that made children around the world join hands and sing a song of piece.

Denver didn't waste any time at the start of the final period, cutting Duke's lead to a single goal. With possession to start the fourth quarter thanks to a violation on Duke at the end of the third period, Berg sunk his fifth goal of the game. Despite working within a four-possession deficit, the Pios trailed Devils, 11-10, but appeared poised to erode thoughts of a presumptive Duke trip to Memorial Monday. And then the Blue Devils did what the Blue Devils do best -- completely crush the soul of the opposition.

Scoring four goals on the team's next four possessions (including a three-goal spurt on three consecutive possessions), the Devils used a 4-1 run in a five-minute stretch to build a 15-11 lead. Duke's scoring in that span came from four different players -- Myles Jones, Keenan, Deemer Class, and Chad Cohan -- and left the Pios with little time or ability to close the gap. A late goal from Tyler Pace with 6:09 left in the game created the final outcome, but the Devils had already done all the work necessary to assure themselves of a win.

TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE

TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE: DENVER v. DUKE
METRIC DENVER DUKE
Possession Margin -4 (25) +4 (29)
Raw Offensive Efficiency 48.00 51.72
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 33.33% 39.47%
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.44 1.31
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 24.00 20.69
Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions 14.81 11.11
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 31.03 28.00
Team Save Percentage 37.50% 36.84%
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join College Crosse

You must be a member of College Crosse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at College Crosse. You should read them.

Join College Crosse

You must be a member of College Crosse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at College Crosse. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker