Duke men upset Va. to defend ACC title

Keaney scores twice late in 14-13 win vs. No. 1 Cavs

MVP Kincel has 15 saves

April 22, 2002|By Evan Markfield | Evan Markfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

DURHAM, N.C. - In Duke's attempt to defend its Atlantic Coast Conference men's lacrosse title, it was a battle of desperation vs. fatigue. Luckily for the Blue Devils, desperation won out.

Coming off an overtime win against Maryland on Friday night and needing to repeat as conference champions to get a crack at the NCAA tournament, the 11th-ranked Blue Devils rallied past No. 1 Virginia, 14-13, in the ACC tournament final yesterday at Koskinen Stadium.

"We were running on Double E -- extra empty," Duke coach Mike Pressler said. "To win today we had to do that."

The Blue Devils (7-5) got two goals from midfielder Terrence Keaney in the final 2:12 of the fourth quarter to tie and then pull ahead of Virginia (9-2).

With the game tied, Keaney had the ball behind the Virginia cage when the Cavaliers' defense relaxed momentarily, expecting the ball to go to Duke midfielder Kevin Cassese.

Instead, Keaney sprinted past Virginia midfielder Nick Russo and launched the ball past goalkeeper Tillman Johnson at point-blank range for the game-winner with 39 seconds to go.

"Teams tend to play my right hand," Keaney said. "I saw my guy relax, and he was giving me the inside. I just took the lane."

The Blue Devils had fallen behind after the Cavaliers put in three consecutive goals to close to 13-12. Two of those goals came from freshman John Christmas, who led the Cavs with three.

But Virginia couldn't answer Duke's rally.

"We played just sloppy and did some things uncharacteristic of our team," Virginia attackman Conor Gill said. "I don't think we shot the ball particularly well, but at the same time, their goalie made some great saves."

Duke goalkeeper A.J. Kincel stopped 15 of Virginia's 36 shots, earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors.

Kincel had a hand from fellow senior Dan Hauber, who shut down Gill, the two-time All-American.

Gill, a St. Paul's alum, notched an assist less than six minutes into the game for the 200th point of his career. But it was all he could get against Hauber, who went one-on-one with Gill for most of the game.

Eleven of the 14 goals for the Blue Devils came from seniors, including four from Jimmy Regan to lead the team.

"I told the team, to win this game we would need to give out 10 game balls," Pressler said. "Well, I'm going to give out 11 - for the whole senior class."

Virginia goalkeeper Tillman Johnson, a St. Mary's alum, stopped 12 of Duke's 39 shots, despite losing some help when defenseman Mark Koontz re-aggravated a knee injury suffered last week against Duke.

"Losing Mark was a blow," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "But the three guys back there are capable enough that we should have defended better."

Duke 4 3 4 3 - 14

Virginia 5 3 2 3 - 13

Goals: D- Regan 4, Lieske 3, Chemotti 2, Keaney 2, Cassese, Doty, Wray, V-Christmas 3, Shannon 2, Yevoli 2, Glading 2, Rotelli, Leibowitz, Mohler, Whitty. Assists: Lieske 3, Brennan 2, Regan, Cassese, Fenton; V-Christmas, Shannon, Yevoli, Rotelli, Gill, Nick Russo. Saves: D-Kincel 15; V-Johnson 12.

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