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2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament: Duke’s seniors move on to Championship Weekend for first time with 14-9 win over Johns Hopkins

Nakeie Montgomery, a freshman, scored two goals late to stop a Hopkins momentum swing.

2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

ANNAPOLIS, M.D. — If you told incoming freshman Justin Guterding he’d be the top goal scorer in NCAA history, he’d laugh it off.

“If you were to ask me early in my career if I would have scored this many goals, I would have told you that you were crazy that I’d score that number of goals, I wouldn’t believe you,” Guterding said, as he gave credit to the teammates he’s played with throughout his four years in Durham.

With a hat-trick in today’s 14-9 win over the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in front of 13,047 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, the senior attackman broke fellow Duke Blue Devils attackman Zack Greer’s all-time goals record with 207 in a career, and counting. He also added two assists to help break Jordan Wolf’s single-season program record for points at 104.

The Blue Devils started hot in the first quarter with a 4-1 lead, thanks to two goals by Joey Manown, who was the attackman guarded by a short stick with Hopkins poling midfielders Brad Smith and Peter Conley. They eventually led 7-3 at the half.

But after a scoring lull to begin the third quarter, the Blue Jays scored two straight to cut the lead to 7-5. But Guterding’s 60th tally of the season followed by his assist to Smith as time expired restored the four-goal lead heading into the final frame.

But the Blue Jays came back with an even stronger push in the final quarter with three straight goals to make it a one-goal game. For Johns Hopkins, head coach Dave Pietramala continued to tell everyone to work during the media timeout.

“I look at the game and I don’t think at halftime, the score is indicative of the game,” Pietramala said. “I thought we had great looks at the goal, we didn’t finish them. But the message was the same the whole game, all season long: one goal at a time.”

The resilience we’ve had to pull back to 9-8, being able to put them back on their heels, that was awesome for us to do again,” said attackman Kyle Marr, who’s father and Albany head coach Scott Marr came down for the game. “It just slipped away at the end.”

Less than a minute after the stoppage of play, freshman midfielder Nakeie Montgomery ended the Hopkins run, followed by another goal exactly a minute later. That didn’t really surprise head coach John Danowski.

“We’ve seen glimpses in practice, we’ve seen glimpses in games of him having this ability of having a nose to the goal, and today was no different,” Danowski said. “Hopkins wasn’t trying to slide, out of our 14 goals I think we only had three assisted goals, so they were challenging us and you need to run by somebody and Nakeie has shown those glimpses, that ability to do that.”

Nine seconds later off the Brian Smyth face-off, LSM Greg Pelton, a lefty, scored his first goal of the season, with his right hand, to cancel out the Blue Jay run.

“That’s a momentum goal and that’s Duke lacrosse right there,” Guterding said. “If he were to shoot that lefty, he probably would’ve gotten that checked out of his hands.”

Smyth went 18-of-25 on draws with nine groundballs, dominating Hunter Moreland (5-of-17) and Kyle Prouty (2-of-8) on the day.

Guterding’s record setting goal came with 1:59 left in the game, an unassisted tally, after a Marr goal a little over a minute and a half prior.

Redshirt-senior goalie Danny Fowler recorded 11 saves in the win, while Brock Turnbaugh had nine. Turnbaugh had seven stops in the first half to keep the Blue Jays in it earlier in the game.

Despite the loss, Pietramala was pleased with this year’s team, after changing the culture after last year’s loss to the same Blue Devils at Homewood Field in the First Round.

“There was a lot of soul searching,” Pietramala said. “A lot of changes made - coaches, players - and we decided we were going to readjust our culture and clearly we’ve done that. I don’t know how to lose a senior class appropriately anymore - this group has been unbelievable. We talked about being enduring, resilient and resolute and this team has been all three of these things.”

“The past couple years, [the defense] felt we’ve kind of been the weak point of the lacrosse team here,” said junior defenseman Patrick Foley. “We’ve been letting up too many goals per year and one of the goals this year was to be a little more aggressive, a little more on hands, disrupt the offense as much as possible and to play for each other.”

Pietramala also confirmed attackman Shack Stanwick suffered a broken rib back in the Michigan game. The senior had two assists on three shots in the loss.