Duke vs. Virginia
April 14, 2007
The Game Story:
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke's Brad Ross scored a career-high three goals including the game-winner in overtime to lift the fourth-ranked Blue Devils to a 7-6 victory over third-ranked Virginia as 6,588 fans looked on at Koskinen Stadium in Durham.

While improving to 10-2 overall and 3-0 in league play, the Blue Devils capture the ACC regular season championship and earn the top seed in the annual conference tournament slated for April 27 and 29 in Durham. The Cavaliers, who entered the game with the nation's longest winning streak at 10 games, fall to 10-2 overall and 2-1 in the league. The ACC Tournament semifinals on Friday, April 27 will feature second-seeded Virginia meeting third-seeded Maryland at 6 p.m., and top-seeded Duke taking on fourth-seeded North Carolina at 8:30 p.m.

The extra session victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Duke in overtime games while giving the Blue Devils their fifth win over Virginia in the last six meetings in Durham.

“What a week," said Duke head coach John Danowski. "You try to pretend that this is not going to be difficult, that, ‘It’s just a game. Let’s just play, and it will be business as usual.’ It was not business as usual. The kids were exhausted. You could see it; you could see it in their legs in the second half. I’m so proud to be associated with them in that this is not easy. This is much more than Xs and Os and how to get people open and make plays. It was really a true testament to their character today. Sometimes that’s overused in sports and athletics, but I just thought our guys figured out a way to keep fighting. I thought they were exhausted and tired mentally. What a week for them.”

"If I was a little bigger person, I might tell you I'm kind of happy for Duke at the end of a long week," said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. "I think the distractions were there for both teams. One of the teams was going to lose today and I know it's been a hard week for Duke. I like John Danowski and I like their kids. Our programs respect each other a great deal. There's a fair chance, better than even chance, that we'll probably see them down the road. It felt like a late-season, postseason kind of lacrosse game."

In overtime, the Cavaliers secured the face-off but failed to get a shot off before turning the ball over. Duke successfully cleared the ball into its offensive end before misfiring on its first shot in the extra period. Keeping possession, Matt Danowski controlled the ball on the left side and fed a cutting Ross who beat Virginia goalkeeper Kip Turner with a behind-the-back shot into the net.

“A lot of the times when we run that play, people are really scared about (Zack) Greer," Ross said following the game. "So I set a pick for Greer and they jumped out on him, and I just cut back to the ball. Then Matt threw it to my inside. The ‘Around the World’ is something you do when you’re a little kid. You don’t really practice that. It just kind of happened.”

Virginia scratched the scoreboard first almost six minutes into the opening period when Jack Riley scored off an assist from Garrett Billings. Just over three minutes later, Duke knotted the game at 1-1 on Peter Lamade's goal from Danowski. With the assist, Danowski became the 34th player in NCAA history to register 100 or more goals and 100 or more assists in a career. The Farmingdale, N.Y., native finished the game with one goal and three assists to push his career totals to 111 goals and 102 assists.

Goals by Foster Gilbert at the 5:23 mark of the first quarter and Max Pomper just over two minutes into the second period gave the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead. Ross sent the teams into intermission with Virginia ahead 3-2 with a goal at the 8:46 mark, and his second tally of the game leveled the score at 3-3 with 11:03 left in the third period. Virginia responded with consecutive goals of its own as Ben Rubeor -- the nation's leader in both goals scored and total points -- found the back of the net at the 10:34 mark of the third quarter and Steve Giannone scored with 6:13 on the clock for a 5-3 Cavalier advantage.

With just under one minute remaining in the third quarter, Mike Catalino scored inside after receiving a pass from Danowski to pull the Blue Devils to within 5-4. Following a Virginia penalty, Lamade found Zack Greer open on the crease for an extra man tally to tie the score. Turner then sparked the Cavaliers by picking up the second assist of his career with a long pass to Rubeor, who scored his nation-leading 39th goal of the year to push Virginia ahead, 6-5, with 8:48 left in the game.

Danowski would pump in the final goal of regulation, dodging from behind the cage and squeezing the ball between the near pipe and Turner's left leg to tie the contest at 6-6 at the 6:01 mark.

“There’s been a lot of talk all season about our emotions with everything going on, and I think today was actually the first time that I can say that our emotions got the best of us," Matt Danowski said. "It was throughout the whole game. We never really got into a flow, and it was pretty sloppy at times. That’s a testament to the way they played and how they played defense, or it could be attested to us not making our shots and having stupid turnovers. It definitely played a factor, but I guess it’s under the rug now that we got the win.”

Both goalkeepers enjoyed solid afternoons with Turner posting a career-high 20 saves. Turner also scooped up a team-best six ground balls while Ricky Smith was credited with five.

Duke's Dan Loftus was credited with 15 saves in the Blue Devil net. Defenseman Casey Carroll logged a game-high seven ground balls with Danowski and Greer picking up six apiece.

The Blue Devils remain at home to take on Army on Saturday, April 21 at 12 noon. The Cavaliers host Dartmouth on the same day at 1 p.m.