Duke nips Virginia, 14-13

Quinzani goal with :12 left sends Blue Devils to championship final

  • Duke's Sam Payton dives and tries to check the ball from the stick of Virginia's Bray Malphrus in the first half. Duke's Max Quinzani scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the Blue Devils to the NCAA lacrosse final vs. Notre Dame.
Duke's Sam Payton dives and tries to check the ball from… (Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd…)
May 30, 2010

The road to redemption came to an abrupt and unfulfilling end for the Virginia men's lacrosse team.

The top-seeded Cavaliers could not protect a three-goal lead in the third quarter, and senior attackman Max Quinzani's goal with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter lifted No. 5 seed Duke to a 14-13 victory in a NCAA Tournament semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Saturday night.

The Blue Devils (15-4) earned a berth in the championship final against unseeded Notre Dame (10-6) on Monday at 3:30 p.m. and will returned to the title game for the first time since 2007.

An announced attendance of 44,389 that seemed to support a Virginia team playing under the weight of the murder of women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love and homicide charges against men's player George Huguely watched both teams trade momentum in the second half.

After the Cavaliers (16-2) took a three-goal lead when sophomore attackman Chris Bocklet converted a feed from junior midfielder Rhamel Bratton just 71 seconds into the third quarter, Duke reeled off seven unanswered goals over a stretch of 16 minutes, 38 seconds spanning the third and fourth quarters to assume a 12-8 advantage with 12:11 left in regulation.

Virginia went on a run of its own, socring five of the next six goals to knot the score at 13 with 1:21 remaining.

After a Duke win on the face-off and a timeout, fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty found Quinzani in the high slot, and he turned and buried the ball behind junior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman.

"[Junior attackman Zach] Howell set a nice pick for me on the backside," said Quinzani, who scored all four of his goals in the second half. "Ned and I made eyes and boom."

Added Crotty, who registered one goal and two assists: "Obviously, I like throwing to Max and saw him make a cut. I locked eyes with Max, threw it behind the [defenseman's] head, and Max was there just in time and stuck it."

Duke also got three goals and one assist from sophomore midfielder Justin Turri, 15-of-23 face-off wins from senior Sam Payton, and seven saves from freshman goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer.

The loss ended a tough campaign for the Cavaliers, who played under the weight of scrutiny after the death of Love and the subsequent charges against Huguely, a senior who played on the second midfield.

Coach Dom Starsia, whose father passed away a couple weeks ago and missed Thursday night's banquet after his wife was hospitalized before being released, paused for several seconds before opening with his post-game remarks.

"These are hard when they end like this," he said. "It's been a really extraordinary spring in so many ways. … The final score score may be the least important part of what has transpired here throughout the spring."

"I think it's definitely been difficult the last month," said sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Loyola graduate who led all scorers with five points on three goals and two assists. "We've really had to lean on each other and support each other and playing seems to take our minds off of everything that's happened. I'm not going to lie and say it's been easy, but I really am proud of the team."

Notes: Both of Virginia's losses this season came at the hands of Duke, which has won nine of the last 10 meetings with the Cavaliers. … Saturday's paid attendance was 44,238. That's the sixth-best crowd for semifinals behind 2007 (51,719), 2006 (49,552), 2008 (48,224), 2004 (46,923) and 2005 (45,275). … Former NFL player and current NFL on Fox analyst Howie Long attended the second semifinal between Duke and Virginia. His son Howie Long Jr. is a freshman defenseman for the Cavaliers. … Monday's contest will conclude with one school winning its first national championship. It's the first time two schools will compete for their first title since 1973 when Johns Hopkins and Maryland met.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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