After losing a heartbreaker to Syracuse in the ACC Championship semifinals last week and having to take care of exams this week, the Blue Devils will look to take all of their stress out in their final regular-season game.
Duke will head to Boston University to take on the Terriers Sunday afternoon at Nickerson Field at 1 p.m. in its final game before the NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils will use Sunday's contest to fix the mistakes from their last-second loss against the Orange and attempt to capture their ninth straight regular-season victory.
"Defensively, we were disappointed with our performance [against Syracuse]," head coach John Danowski said. "Offensively, we weren't as sharp as we've been. And we got to look at the reasons why [on film] and just get better from it."
If defense is something Duke (12-3) feels it needs to work on, Boston (2-11) should provide it a perfect opportunity to do so.The Terriers average a mere 6.92 goals per game—less than half of the 14.4 the Blue Devils net per contest.
"We look at it as a playoff game. We look at it as an opportunity for us to get better from last week," Danowski said. "[It's] another opportunity to travel together, for the team to be together and get off campus after finals and be together in a hotel room again...and really bond here for that final push."
One of the major factors that has allowed the Blue Devils to rattle off eight straight regular-season wins has been their health. With the postseason approaching quickly, Danowski is more than pleased about where his team is health-wise.
"We're healthy," he said. "Like all teams who go through a season, we've had guys who had the flu, minor injuries. But we are as healthy as we have been all year."
Duke's players have been dealing with finals this past week. Now with exams behind them, the Blue Devils will be able to focus solely on lacrosse during their final push.
"With school in the rearview mirror, it's all lacrosse, all the time and that's exciting," Danowski said. "For a lot of us, this is our favorite time of year. We eat meals together, we practice, we do some social things together."
Although the season is far from finished, Danowski has been coaching long enough to recognize exam week is a trying time for the players mentally and makes sure to work in plenty of team activities following finals.
"We go to the movies, we'll go to the Bulls game," Danowski said. "It's a really neat time of year. The guys said [they want to see] 'The Neighbors'. That's the big one next week."
Four players celebrated honors during finals week, as seniors Brendan Fowler and Jordan Wolf and sophomores Deemer Class and Myles Jones were named to the All-ACC team. Deemer and Jones made up half of the sophomore class representatives on the list.
For Wolf, it was his fourth time seeing his name on the All-ACC list—the first player in Duke history to hold that honor. But that was not where the awards ended for Wolf, who was also recognized as the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Wolf is in the midst of a regular season in which he is averaging a conference-best 3.13 goals per game and is only four goals away from passing current assistant coach Matt Danowski for second place on Duke's all-time goals scored list.
Duke men's lacrosse looks to bounce back against Boston
Chris Dieckhaus / Chronicle File Photo