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Matt Danowski helped lead the Blue Devils to the national championship in 2007.

This week in Duke history: Men's lacrosse nearly comes back from false allegations to win national title



Ten years ago this week, one of the most inspiring stories in Duke sports history ended just short of a fairy tale.

After losing its season in the wake of an alleged—and later deemed false—rape incident involving a group of men's lacrosse players, Duke stormed to the national championship game. 

But they came up just short.

The Blue Devils lost to Johns Hopkins in the finals for the second time in three years May 28, 2007, and lost to the Blue Jays once again in the national semifinals a year later. 

In 2007, Duke ousted head coach Mike Pressler and replaced him with John Danowski, the father of the team’s best player and one of the best players in program history. 

Danowksi guided his son Matt and the Blue Devils with the help of accommodations from the NCAA, as it granted all Duke players from the 2006 squad—which many thought would compete for the national title—an extra year of eligibility.

Still, Duke won the ACC championship in 2007, and it nearly came back from a 10-4 halftime deficit against Johns Hopkins, as it tied the score at 11 with 4:37 remaining.

But with 3:25 remaining, the Blue Jays scored what was the final goal of the game. Under Danowski, the Blue Devils won their first three championships in 2010, 2013 and 2014. 


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