14-6 romp gives Duke its first title since 1954 ACC CHAMPIONSHIP

April 24, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina's run atop the Atlantic Coast Conference is over, but the conference title will stay in Tobacco Road.

The Tar Heels, who had won the past seven ACC championships and all six tournaments conducted by the conference, weren't stopped by perennial challengers Virginia or Maryland, but by an upstart rival a little closer to home.

Duke (11-3) completed its domi-nation of the seventh tournament with a 14-6 whipping of North Carolina at the Tar Heels' Fetzer Field. yesterday. It was the Blue Devils' second ACC title, but the first since 1954, the year the conference opened for business.

"The first thing that hit me is that it's been 41 years," Duke coach Mike Pressler said. "I'm only 35. That's a lot of years since we've won this thing. We needed to win this for all Duke players who served as doormats."

The Blue Devils were a nonentity through the first two decades of the NCAA tournament, but all that changed when Pressler arrived in 1991 after a stint at Division III Ohio Wesleyan.

He recruited some of the best talent in New England. Tournament MVP Ross Moscatelli, leading scorer Scott Harrison, goalie Joe Kirmser and two starting defensemen prepped in Connecticut. Duke has just five players from Maryland, and with faceoff specialist Blake Holden (Loyola High) out with a torn knee ligament, none start.

The Blue Devils were the fourth seed after losing all three of their ACC regular-season games by a combined nine goals, but they routed Virginia, 17-10, in Friday's semifinals and yesterday ended an 11-game, eight-year losing streak to the Tar Heels. The win over Virginia elevated Duke to No. 4 in the USILA rankings.

The only knock on Duke is its schedule. The Blue Devils, who finish the regular season against Canisius on Friday, don't play Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Princeton or Loyola.

"I like to think we'll be considered for one of the first-round byes," Pressler said of the NCAA tournament."

The Blue Devils spotted North Carolina a 1-0 lead, then dominated the rest of the first half and scored the next eight goals. The difference was still six goals, at 9-3, before Kyle Durkee and Jason Wade scored and gave North Carolina some brief hope, but Duke answered with the first five goals of the fourth quarter.

"Duke was due," North Carolina coach Dave Klarmann said. "They've got some very good players in their senior class, and they've been banging on the door all season."

The Tar Heels (8-6) dedicated the tournament to Kevin Reichardt, a teammate from St. Mary's High who was murdered Jan. 26 in Chapel Hill. But they peaked emotionally in the first half of a 14-9 semifinal win over Maryland. North Carolina scored one goal in the second half against Maryland, and only one in the first half yesterday.

The six losses are the most for North Carolina since 1977, the season before Willie Scroggs arrived and began making the Tar Heels a national power.

The North Carolina athletic program, which was recognized as the best in the nation in 1993-94, was trying to add to its record number of ACC titles. Through Saturday, Tar Heel teams had accumulated 12 ACC championships, double the combined total of the conference's eight other members.

Named to the all-tournament team were: Moscatelli, Scott Harrison, Jim Gonnella, Matt Oglesby, Joe Kirmser of Duke; Merrill Turnbull, Rocco D'Andraia, Jason Wade, Jude Collins of North Carolina; and Doug Knight of Virginia.

ON THE BUBBLE

With two weeks remaining, there are five teams competing for the final two spots in the NCAA tournament. The top eight teams in this week's poll should qualify for the tournament and Notre Dame should gain the at-large bid from the Midwest. This is the breakdown of the remaining schedules for the five teams on the bubble:

HOBART

Saturday, Maryland at Fleet Invitational; Sunday, Boston College at Fleet; May 6, at Princeton.

MASSACHUSETTS

Wednesday, at Yale; Saturday, Syracuse; May 3, at Brown; May 6, at Army.

PENN STATE

Sunday, at Delaware.

GEORGETOWN

Saturday, Loyola; May 6, Lehigh.

TOWSON STATE

Saturday, Johns Hopkins; May 6, at C.W. Post.

USILA DIV. I POLL

(Records through Saturday)

No. School .... .... .... ..... Record .... .... .... .... ... Pts.

1. Johns Hopkins (11) ... .. .. 9-0 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 220

2. Syracuse ... ... ... ... ... 8-2 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 205

3. Virginia ... ... ... ... ... 10-2 ... ... ... ... ... .. .. 196

4. Duke ... ... ... ... ... ... 10-3 ... ... ... ... ... .. .. 175

5. Maryland ... ... ... ... ... 7-3 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 166

6. North Carolina ... ... .. .. 8-5 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 155

7. Loyola ... ... ... ... .. .. 8-2 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 154

8. Princeton ... ... ... ... .. 8-3 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 146

9. Brown ... ... ... ... ... .. 7-4 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 138

10. Hobart ... ... ... .. .. .. 6-4 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 122

11. Massachusetts ... ... .. .. 5-3 ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 93

12. Penn State ... ... .. .. .. 10-2 ... ... ... ... ... .. .. 87

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