Army vs. Duke
May 8, 2004
The Game Story:
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Eighteenth-ranked Army broke open a tight one-goal contest, scoring seven straight tallies bridging the third and fourth quarters, and kept alive its hopes for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament Saturday with a resounding 13-7 victory over Duke in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Seemingly needing a win to maintain an opportunity for a postseason berth, Army (10-4) jumped on top 3-0 in the game's opening 5:06 but Duke (5-8) hung around for the game's next 28 minutes and found itself trailing 4-3 following a Dan Flannery goal with 11:17 to play in the third quarter.

It was then, though, that Army's offense quickly found its stride, scoring the contest's next seven goals, while the Black Knights' defense-led by goalie Matt Darak's 18 saves on the day--contributed on its end by holding the Blue Devils scoreless over the next 17:35. By the time senior midfielder Marko Kostovic concluded Army's surge with his second tally of the day with 13:10 remaining in the game, the Black Knights led by eight and had the contest well in hand.

The teams combined for 15 second-half goals after Army carried a slim 3-2 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Following Flannery's third-quarter goal, Erik Mineo won the faceoff for Army, defenseman Matt Luyster carried the ball into the box and fed John Walker for a goal at the 11:03 mark. Just over a minute later, senior attackman Doug Bartolotta scooped a Walker shot that ricocheted off Duke goalie Aaron Fenton and found Jim Wagner on the crease. Wagner faked Fenton and rippled the twine for a 6-3 Army lead at the 9:51 mark.

Wagner upped Army's lead to 7-3 off a nifty feed from Jeff Bryan with 7:54 to play, before Mike Obringer and Jake Couch padded the cushion with scores at 2:14 and 19 seconds, respectively, sending the Black Knights into the final quarter on top 9-3.

Luyster potted his career-high second goal of the day 41 seconds into the final stanza, preceding Kostovic's tally. Duke netted four of the game's final six scores, with three of those goals coming from sophomore middie Matt Zash, who concluded the afternoon with a game-high four tallies.

Fenton finished with 10 saves while playing the first three quarters. A trio of Duke backups-Dan Loftus, Bryan McAleer and Jack Hill-did not post a save while splitting time in the final quarter. Duke outshot Army 41-36 but Army maintained a 41-31 edge in ground balls.

Wagner led Army with five points, including two goals and three assists. Wagner entered the weekend tied for the national lead in goals scored (39), now has 41 goals, becoming the first Black Knight to reach 40 tallies in a campaign since Dan Brostek recorded 42 goals in 1996.

Jeff Bryan, who entered the game leading the nation in assists, pocketed one goal and three helpers. Kostovic, Luyster and Obringer also registered a pair of goals each. Luyster's three points marked a career high.

Army's high-scoring attack trio of Walker, Wagner and Bryan combined for 10 points Saturday, making them the highest-scoring trio in a single season in Army's rich lacrosse history. The threesome has put up 161 points this season, bettering the previous record of 157, which was set by Brostek, Rob Manning and Ross Yastrzemsky in 1996.

The NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Monday, May 10. The brackets will be unveiled live on ESPN News.