Dionne, Duprey help Duke
PHILADELPHIA — Everything will be fine, Duke's Brian Dailey thought Monday as he watched Jordan Wolf score a goal, throw his arms to the air and pump his gloved right fist.
The Blue Devils had stumbled into a 5-0 hole in the NCAA men's lacrosse final, but all doubt seemed to dissipate in the second quarter while Wolf celebrated in the northeast corner of Lincoln Financial Field.
Wolf finished with four goals, but none more important than the first one, as he steadied Duke and guided his team to its first national title since 2010 with a 16-10 win over top-seeded Syracuse.
The Blue Devils (16-5) scored 12 of the next 14 goals and Wolf said they needed that first one to remind themselves they were still in the game. He scored four times in both final four games and raised his season total to 57 goals.
Wolf was joined in the scoring parade by Merrimack, N.H.'s Josh Dionne, who scored three goals and later told the New Hampshire Union Leader that he knew the Blue Devils would rally after being down early.
"We like to keep things interesting," said Dionne, who finished the season with 45 goals. "We knew the seniors would lead us back. We knew we could do it. Our experience pulled us through."
Dionne, a junior attackman and a product of Avon (Conn.) Old Farms, is one of two Granite Staters on the national champs. Fellow junior Luke Duprey, of Concord and Phillips Exeter, played a solid game on defense and came up with two ground balls and was 1-for-1 on faceoffs.
Duprey, too, said the early deficit wasn't an issue.
"It's not a characteristic (falling behind) we'd like to do all the time," he said. "But when we found ourselves down, we knew we had to stay together and just stick to the plan ... work together and things will work out.
"We were too soft (at the beginning), not making them work," said Duprey. "We needed to go out and play the man with more pressure."
Instead of drawing a matchup with the Orange's top defender, Brian Megill, Wolf matched up with junior David Hamlin. Wolf said he was a little surprised, but he still expected a challenge. He repeatedly attacked Hamlin from behind the net, including the goal that handed Duke its first lead, a 6-5 advantage with 1 minute, 51 seconds left in the first half.
Dylan Donahue scored three times for Syracuse (16-4).
Wolf's presence opened up space for fellow attack Dionne and Josh Offit, who also scored a hat trick. Jake Tripucka, a midfielder, scored twice and assisted on two other goals. Kyle Turri sealed the win with 10 saves.
Billy Conners, a senior defenseman, stabilized Duke's defense after the early setback and limited Syracuse's Derek Maltz to just one shot and no points. Brendan Fowler, the game's outstanding player, won 20 of his 28 face-offs to help the Blue Devils dominate possession and run away from Syracuse.