Familiar Foe Awaits Duke

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Duke vs. Johns Hopkins.

Sound familiar?

For the fourth time in six seasons, the Blue Devils (12-4) will square off against the Blue Jays (7-7) in the NCAA Tournament. The teams will meet in the first round—a relatively early meeting for the two powerhouses—Saturday at noon at Koskinen Stadium.

Duke will have to overcome some unpleasant, to say the least, history against the Blue Jays. Johns Hopkins has crushed No. 5 Duke's shot at the program's first national title each of the last three times the teams have faced off in the postseason. In 2005, the undefeated Blue Jays won a nailbiter to win the NCAA championship, then followed up that effort in 2007 with another heartbreaking win in the title game over the Blue Devils.

In 2008, Duke appeared to have finally figured out how to beat Johns Hopkins, dismantling the Blue Jays in a 17-6 rout at home during the regular season to exact some revenge from the previous season's loss. But when the two teams met in the Final Four later that season, the Blue Jays pulled off what some pundits called the biggest upset in college lacrosse history, shutting down the Blue Devils' prolific offense and ending their season once more.

Duke has as good a chance as any to finally best Johns Hopkins this season. The Blue Jays were barely eligible for an NCAA Tournament bid, earning a win in their final regular season contest to close the year at .500, the cutoff for an at-large bid. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils rallied off wins in 10 of their last 11, suffering the lone loss to No. 1 Virginia in the ACC Tournament.

The ACC placed four teams in the NCAA draw, with No. 3 Maryland and No. 4 North Carolina joining Duke and the Cavaliers. Should the Blue Devils advance past Johns Hopkins, they could face another rival, the Tar Heels, in the national quarterfinals.


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