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Wigrizer (Haverford School), Conners (Malvern Prep) and Duke win men’s national championship, 6-5, in OT over Notre Dame

Monday, 31st May 2010

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/31/10

Freshman goalie Dan Wigrizer (Haverford School) made five saves and sophomore CJ Costabile scored the game-winning goal five seconds into overtime and the Duke Blue Devils captured their first-ever NCAA National Championship with a 6-5 win over Notre Dame on Monday afternoon

Duke's Dan Wigrizer (Haverford School, 19), Billy Conners (Malvern Prep) celebrate NCAA championship (Photo by Steve Layne)

at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Freshman defenseman Billy Conners (Malvern Prep) also contributed as a reserve with one groundball as the Blue Devils (15-4) ended years of frustration.

“The bottom line was staying composed and confident,” said Wigrizer after celebrating the championship. “During the whole game I didn’t let myself get nervous.

“Billy Conners kept coming up to me saying, ‘It’s just like Haverford-Malvern.’ This feeling is surreal.”

The game was a defensive battle. Neither team led by more than a goal the entire way and the Blue Devils were stymied by Irish goalie Scott Rodgers (15 saves).

Notre Dame, which dominated time of possession for much of the game, was not sharp with its shooting, except for Zach Brenneman, who tallied a hat trick. Steve Schoeffel and Zach Howell netted two goals each for Duke.

Costabile won the face-off to open the overtime from Trever Sipperly and glided downfield before beating Rodgers with a shot from directly in front of the net.

The Blue Devils had the fastest goal to start an overtime in NCAA championship history. Duke had advanced twice before to the title game – and lost by one goal both times.

Notre Dame (10-7), which was unseeded and a surprise to many as a finalist, got brilliant defensive work from senior co-captain Mike Creighton (Malvern Prep). Creighton had two groundballs and reserve middie Adam Felicetti (Central Bucks East) had one groundball for the Irish.

It was the lowest-scoring title game in history, yet what it lacked in offense it made up for in drama. There were five ties, and neither team led by more than one goal.

The previous lowest-scoring game was in 1982, when North Carolina beat Johns Hopkins 7-5.

The loss ended a brilliant postseason run by Notre Dame, which defeated three seeded teams to advance to the title game for the first time.

The game was played cautiously by both sides, with defense and possession the priority. The teams set a championship-game record for fewest combined goals through three quarters (eight) and tied the mark for fewest at halftime (five).

Notre Dame went up 5-4 with 11:56 by converting a rare fastbreak. David Earl picked up a loose ball and ran 30 yards before passing across the field to Sean Rogers, who pumped a shot past Wigrizer.

Justin Turri scored for the Blue Devils with 8:44 left to tie the game for the last time.

Duke led 3-2 at halftime after scoring the lone goal of the second quarter.

The Blue Devils took 13 shots, including nine on goal, but Rodgers had six saves and Duke committed five turnovers.

It took only 49 seconds for Notre Dame to go up 1-0 on a goal by Brenneman. Then, after Duke used goals by Howell and Schoeffel to take the lead, Brenneman scored again with 50 seconds left during a first quarter in which both teams worked the ball for several minutes at a time.

That only served as a precursor for a dreary second quarter in which the only goal came on a shot by Schoeffel with 1:24 left.

Early in the third quarter, Earl provided hope for a more offense-oriented game. With a Duke defender on his back, he scored with a low shot while being knocked from his feat. The goal ended Notre Dame’s 17-minute scoring drought.

Howell put the Blue Devils back in front, and Brenneman’s third goal tied it at 4 with 1:12 left in the quarter.

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