Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/5/21
From Press Release
The top-ranked Duke men’s lacrosse team outscored No. 7 Denver 8-2 in the second half for a thrilling 12-10 comeback victory to open the 2021 season today in Durham, N.C.
Freshman attackmen Brennan O’Neill and grad student transfer Michael Sowers (Upper Dublin) both had four points to pace Duke in the scoring column.
O’Neill finished the afternoon with three goals and an assist in his first collegiate game, while Sowers had a goal and three assists in his first game as a Blue Devil after his transfer from Princeton. The win was head coach John Danowski’s 200th as the leader of the Duke (1-0) program. Overall, nine different Blue Devils had at least one point.
Graduate student goaltender Turner Uppgren came off the bench for the final 43:23 to make 11 saves and collect the victory. Defensively, Duke held Denver (1-1) scoreless for 10 minutes in the third quarter and without a goal for the final 15 minutes, forcing six turnovers in the fourth quarter.
Playing their first official game in 332 days, the Blue Devils scored first with a tally from O’Neill at the 12:29 mark of the opening frame. However, it was all Denver for the next 12:59 as it rattled off six straight goals, including three in a span of 1:12, for a 6-1 lead just over a minute into the second quarter.
The Pioneers dominated at the faceoff X, winning all seven restarts in the first quarter and going 11-of-13 in the first half to dominate time of possession.
“I thought in the first quarter Denver was terrific,” said Danowski. “They made some really great individual plays so you have to tip your cap to your opponent. I thought we were just nervous. It’s been a long time since we played a game. The all of a sudden you get down and everybody gets quiet.”
Duke, coming out of a timeout, relaxed and started to settle into the game both offensively and defensively to chip away at the lead.
Sowers stopped the Denver run by capitalizing on a Denver turnover at the 11:44 mark and then sophomore Dyson Williams and junior Griffin Catlett both added markers to bring the Blue Devils within four, 8-4, at the half.
Catlett’s goal was the first of his career and gave Duke the lift it needed off the bench headed into the locker room. Sowers provided the assist on the doorstep.
Duke, relaxed and confident, carried the momentum into the third quarter and steadily clawed its way back within one, 10-9, with a final period to play. O’Neill had two in the frame as four different Blue Devils got in the scoring mix.
Uppgren made six saves in the third stanza, including a stop when the Blue Devils were two men down. Overall, Duke went 5-of-6 on man down.
Senior Cameron Badour completed the comeback, tying the game 1:56 into the fourth quarter. Six minutes later Owen Caputo gave the Blue Devils their first lead since 12:29 of the opening period. After a couple defensive stops down the stretch, graduate student Reilly Walsh iced the victory with a left-handed goal with 65 seconds remaining.
Tags: Upper Dublin