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NCAA quarterfinals at PPL Park: Duke’s Philly connection helps lead Blue Devils to big win in front of hometown fans

Sunday, 20th May 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 5/20/12

Duke junior goalie Dan Wigrizer said that playing in the NCAA quarterfinals today at PPL Park in front of many hometown fans was a thrill.

Duke goalie Dan Wigrizer (Haverford School) makes one of his nine saves during Sunday's win (Photo by Charlie Bagent)

“We’re very excited to play in Philly,” said Wigrizer, who had nine saves for the Blue Devils in their 17-6 rout of Colgate. “Everyone is screaming your name.

“The Philadelphia lacrosse community is so compact and so centralized. It’s great to play in front of that community and show there are a bunch of Philly kids playing on the big stage. It’s great for the kids to see that.”

Wigrizer was just one of the many Philly players that helped Duke reach the Final Four for the third straight year before a crowd of 10,770. Sophomore attackman Jordan Wolf (Lower Merion) had two goals and an assist and starting sophomore defenseman Henry Lobb (Malvern Prep) had two groundballs and two caused turnovers.

Meanwhile, junior defenseman Billy Conners (Malvern Prep) played a large chunk of the second half and helped blank Colgate standout Peter Baum (one first-half goal), freshman long pole Brian Dailey (Conestoga) was a regular sub and freshman midfielder Tanner Scott (Conestoga) played the final few minutes.

Wigrizer did not get off to an auspicious start as Colgate seized a quick 4-2 lead. But Duke embarked on a monumental 13-0 run to take complete control of the game.

“We knew going into this week we’d have to take a quarter and figure them out,” Wigrizer said. “We saw all their tactics and antics and made changes on defense.

“We made some coverage changes on when to slide to certain guys and how to anticipate their shots.”

Wigrizer did not panic even when he allowed four goals.

“It’s really knowing you’re going to let in some,” he said. “They are going to score goals – it’s a lacrosse game. I just tried to relax myself and just see the next shot.”

The win vaults the Blue Devils into next Saturday’s semifinals against hated Maryland at Foxboro, mass. Last year the Terrapins knocked Duke out of the tourney in the Final Four.

“I can’t wait to play Maryland,” said Wigrizer. “We lost to them last year in the Final Four. Everyone is excited to play them.”

Lobb also said it was a thrill to come back to Philly and win so impressively.

“It’s an awesome experience to come back to Philly and play in this great stadium and have all my family and friends and aunts and uncles here,” he said.

Lobb said Colgate showed a lot early, but was unable to adjust to Duke’s defensive slides.

“They had a lot of energy to start the game,” he said. “But we brought it into focus. We went back to o fundamentals and got back to what we do best. We locked it down and started sliding quicker and everything worked out.”

Lobb said watching the 13-0 run was plain fun.

“That was unbelievable,” he said. “The offense is starting to click and look smooth. We are finally starting to see the whole off-ball game. Things are clicking.”

Lobb predicted a war next week when Duke plays ACC rival Maryland.

“It will be a slugfest – that’s the first word that comes to mind,” he said. “Duke vs. Maryland…it will be hard fought.

“(Last year’s loss) is kind of in the back of our minds. Hopefully we will knock them out and get to the next step and realize that dream this year.”


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