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Duke prepares to conquer The Mount

The men’s lacrosse team has an opportunity to make the record books Tuesday, when No. 2 Duke faces off against Mount St. Mary’s (3-2) at 3 p.m. in Koskinen Stadium.

“Our motivation tomorrow is that we have a chance to make a little history around here,” head coach Mike Pressler said. “I told the boys no Duke team has ever gone 10-0.”

The Blue Devils have not had a 10-win season since 2001, and Pressler said he can not remember a Division I team ever having 10 wins before April 1.

During the long win streak the team has remained confident, but not cocky. Senior goalie Aaron Fenton credits Pressler with the team’s solid attitude.

“[Coach] tells us to forget about last game—it’s history,” Fenton said. “From his point of view we are 0-9. He keeps us motivated to work hard every day in practice.”

Junior attacker Dan Flannery also believes that the high-energy practices are what sets this team apart from any other team he has played on during his career.

“We have been practicing hard and haven’t had a bad practice yet,” Flannery said. “We have been getting better every day.”

Tuesday marks Duke’s first matchup against The Mount since 1993, when the Blue Devils prevailed 16-2. There is little history between the two teams.

Mount St. Mary’s offense revolves around lefty attacker Matt Warner. The junior scored five goals in The Mount’s most recent win against Wagner.

“They have lots of seniors,” Pressler said. “They are capable. They played Virginia well for a half and have won some key games this year.”

Against Virginia, Mount St. Mary’s kept the game close in the first half and trailed only 4-2 at the half. After halftime, Virginia reeled off six straight goals to rip the game open.

Unlike The Mount, the Blue Devils are led by a plethora of underclassmen. Pressler is worried that his young team may still be prone to mistakes.

“If you look at our team, there are only two seniors that play,” Pressler said. “This is a sophomore- and junior-dominated team. We continue to improve and continue to get better.”

Pressler said that Duke is still looking to improve on its faceoff percentage. He set a goal at the beginning of the season for his team to win 50 percent of its faceoffs, but the team has only secured 47 percent this year.

The Blue Devils have been at their best this season when putting teams away early. Against then-No. 5 Georgetown Duke jumped to a 7-1 lead at half and never looked back.

“We have to get out of the box quickly,” Pressler said. “Some of these Tuesday games we have not gotten off as quickly as we would have liked.”

On top of everything else, this team knows how to have fun. Watch one game and see the team smile as they run circles around the competition.

“Coach Pressler creates this atmosphere where we can have a good time, but we can still be serious and get the job done,” Flannery said. “We realize it is still just a game. We play better when we are having fun.”


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