On a sunny Memorial Day in Philadelphia, Duke and Syracuse took to the lacrosse field to decide a national champion.
Syracuse came out of the gate firing, taking a 5-0 lead to start the game. Duke looked lost on defense and had trouble maintaining quality possessions early.
Duke finally got on the board in the second quarter when Jordan Wolf used his speed to get in front of the cage and put a ball in the back of the net. From there, Duke relied on All-American Brendan Fowler at the faceoff X, where he won 20 of 28 draws throughout the game.
Fowler would win MVP honors, and his performance led to a ton of possession late in the game for the Blue Devils. He was clearly in the heads of the Syracuse midfielders who could not seem to figure out his arsenal of faceoff moves.
Syracuse led by a goal at halftime, and it looked to be a game that would go down to the wire.
After coaching adjustments in the locker room, Duke came out with a new purpose in the second half. Fowler continued to win faceoffs, while the Duke offense figured out Syracuse's defensive scheme and was able to dodge from behind to initiate its scoring.
Wolfe, a Philadelphia native, was outstanding on attack for Duke, finishing the game with four goals and two assists. Jake Tripucka also had a tremendous game, using his strength and dodging ability to score goals in close while diving into the crease. Tripucka, whose father played professional basketball for the Knicks, finished with two goals and two assists to cap off his senior year.
After a slow start, the Duke defense began sliding with a purpose in the second half. Lead by goaltender Kyle Turri, the defense was able to stand its ground and prevent Syracuse from going on a late run. Turri finished with 10 saves as his team finished the year with a 16-5 record and a trophy to bring back to Durham.
For Syracuse, its outstanding season came to a anticlimactic end. The No. 1 seed in the tournament finished the year at 16-4, but could not find an answer for Duke's tough defensive scheme in the championship game.
Dylan Donahue lead Syracuse with three goals and an assist, while All-American midfielder Jojo Marasco had two goals and an assist. Syracuse goalie Dom Lamolinara finished with 11 saves on the day, but his 40 percent save rate was not enough as Duke kept the pressure on throughout the game.