LIVE BLOG: Duke vs. Syracuse - NCAA Semifinals

Syracuse 14-7, 10:38: Quinzani added a nice goal from the left side of the net to complete his hat trick, but that might be the only thing worth highlighting on the day for Duke.

Syracuse 14-6, End of 3rd: This stat just announced should sum up Duke's day--the 14 goals allowed are the most since April 3, 2004. That's pre-John Danowski, pre-lax case, pre-everyone on the roster. Yikes.

Syracuse 14-6, End of 3rd: It is just not Duke's day. The Blue Devils have set a new mark for most goals allowed in a game--and there's still an entire period left to play. Syracuse's goals have come on great passing and crashing the net with very few shots from too far out. The Orange have outshot Duke by 13 and with one period remaining, an eight-goal margin is an awful lot to come back from.

Syracuse 11-6, 5:46 3rd: Syracuse attackman Kenny Nims just scored for the Orange, but Syracuse's Moulten followed up the goal with a 30-second pushing penalty. Duke was unable to capitalize, however, as the Orange scooped up a ground ball right near the end of the man-up period.

Syracuse 10-6, 6:50 3rd: Duke's Max Quinzani just notched the Blue Devils' second goal of the half with a nice ripped shot from the right of the cage, but offensive opportunities have been few and far between here in the second half. Syracuse has continued to dominate the ball and Duke will need to get out on the break to find opportunities as their sets have been continually stifled and disrupted this afternoon.

Syracuse 9-4, 14:48 3rd: Rough open to the second half for Duke, as Syracuse faceoff man Jake Moulton scoops up the ball off the faceoff and runs right up the middle of the field before ripping off a quick overhand shot that finds the net just moments after the opening whistle.

Syracuse 8-4, Half: And thus ends the first half for Duke. Everything that needs to be said has been said (Duke can't finish, Syracuse getting the shots, etc.) so there are two ways to look at it: Syracuse is winning and will continue to do so, or Duke has gotten bad luck and when it shifts to its side, it will come back and win. I'd say that while the Blue Devils have not played up to their normal level, the Orange are probably a better team so if Duke is to win, it will need an extraordinary effort like the one it put up against Virginia in the ACC semifinal.

Syracuse 8-4, 1:14 2nd: Mike Manley almost had a sick coast-to-coast goal that would've brought Duke within three. "Almost," however, has seemed to be the theme of the Blue Devils' game today. The shot went wide as Manley got hit. Duke still has possession and is coming out of a timeout.

Syracuse 8-4, 4:13 2nd: A four goal lead, however, is not as easy to overcome. In the span of less than 30 seconds, Perritt completed his first-half hat trick with a wicked bounce shot about 15 feet away from the goal and Cody Jamieson added a goal over Schroeder's shoulder off a spin move for the eighth goal of the day. Duke just called timeout to try and stem the Orange's momentum.

Syracuse 6-4, 5:19 2nd: Syracuse just called timeout with the ball. Brad Ross scored seconds after the Orange went up by three in  a shot similar to Howell's first goal. While Syracuse is still the better team so far, as any team can attest, a two goal lead is tenuous at best in a lacrosse game.

Syracuse 6-3, 7:28 2nd quarter: Missed opportunities. That has been the story of this period so far for Duke. One transition possession, too many passes results in a turnover. Another possession finds Howell wide open in front of the net, but he cannot get his shot off in time an the Syracuse defense closes in. Yet another transition possession resulted in a bad pass. Max Quinzani had a nice goal at the start of the period but otherwise the Orange have owned this game so far.

Syracuse 4-2, End 1st quarter: The end of the first quarter went about as well as the start--which is to say, not well at all. The game was tied until 35 seconds left when Syracuse midfielder Pat Perritt snuck a shot by goalie Rob Schroeder (he couldn't have had more than half a foot to shoot on) and then Kenny Nims added a diving shot with less than a second left for the two goal advantage. It seems so far that the Orange's D has done a great job in forcing sloppy play on Duke's part. It's not Johns Hopkins strategy, which was sit back and not allow a good shoot, but it seems to be working just as well in limiting the Blue Devils' offense. Taking advantage of Syracuse's overaggression is crucial for Duke to take the lead.

Game Tied 2-2, 4:32 1st: And just like that, Zack Howell says, "That's the start we were looking for!"  The sophomore attackman has tallied each of Duke's two goals, the first on a slingshot that got past goalie John Galloway in the top left corner and the second on a man-up play where he found himself wide open just feet away from the net. Howell's second goal comes in large part because of the great individual effort of Parker McKee, who the previous play cleared the ball himself and drew a slashing penalty to get the man-up situation.

Syracuse 2-0, 7:13 1st quarter: Probably not the start Duke wanted to have. The Orange have reeled off two goals on ground balls and its defense has suffocated Duke, forcing numerous turnovers and not allowing many good looks, let alone scoring opportunities.

PREGAME: We're coming to you LIVE from Gilette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots and the 2009 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship. The Blue Devils and Orange are just wrapping up their warmups while the stadium slowly fills up. Although the lower bowl is not full (possibly a result of the terrible traffic congestion outside), there are fans scattered throughout the upper deck, which would seem to indicate a big crowd today.

Some notes on the all-time Duke-Syracuse series. Syracuse leads the all-time series 4-1, with the two teams' last meeting coming in the 2002 NCAA quarterfinals, where Syracuse won 10-9. Duke's only win against the Orange came in 1978, when the Blue Devils prevailed 11-7.


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