Apparently, lightning doesn't strike twice. Or at least not for the Duke men's lacrosse team.
The No. 13 Blue Devils (8-6. 0-3 in the ACC) fell to Virginia (9-2, 2-1) 12-5 in Charlottesville, Va., in the championship game of the ACC tournament yesterday.
The loss puts a severe kink in Duke's playoff hopes and ends the team's late-season burst a game short of last season's rally, which ended in a NCAA playoff bid for the Blue Devils.
The loss also ends the Blue Devils quest for their third straight conference tournament title. Last year in Durham Duke defeated the Cavaliers 14-13 in dramatic fashion.
Last season Duke entered the ACC tournament with a 6-6 record and one early season quality win. That squad went on to win the conference title, lose to Hofstra the week after but was still granted a bid to the NCAA playoffs.
This year, the Blue Devils entered the ACCs with a 7-5 record and with one quality win once again-against Loyola (Md.) in Baltimore more than a month ago.
And after a 7-6 upset of No. 5 Maryland (7-3. 3-0) in the semifinals Friday night, it looked like Duke was going to strike twice.
But Virginia did not cooperate.
After a close first half, the Cavaliers broke open the game with a five goal burst that spanned the third and fourth quarters to run away from the Blue Devils.
Until the decisive Virginia spurt, it was a tight game throughout. Before the Cavaliers put a pair of goals into the back of the net to end the first half at 5-4, Duke was leading the game 4-3 after falling behind 3-1 in the opening minutes.
Duke's Matt Rewkowski had two goals to lead the Blue Devils while senior goalie A.J. Kincel stopped 11 Virginia shots.
Billy Glading, who was named tournament MVP after the game, scored five goals to lead the Cavaliers.
Friday night, Maryland scored a goal with less than a minute left to cut Duke's lead to a single goal. The Blue Devils then won the ensuing faceoff and lost the ball with thirteen seconds left, but Kincel's save of a Maryland shot with two seconds left on the clock preserved victory for Duke.
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