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The Chronicle's Top 10: Duke men's lacrosse and women's golf capture NCAA titles

From the field to the court, the Blue Devils provided fans and media members alike with plenty of memorable moments. With 2014 coming to a close, The Chronicle is taking look back on the year's biggest stories. We close the year and our list with the No. 1 story of 2014—Duke men's lacrosse and women's golf national titles.

At the end of the year, it is not a first-round loss to Mercer or Wallace Wade's facelift that reigns supreme. No, with the new year and all the change it will bring less than 24 hours away, there are only two teams that can stand atop all the stories and teams that tried and failed to accomplish what they did. There are only two teams that can say they were the best teams assembled in their respective sports in 2014. There are only two teams that deserve to top The Chronicle's Top 10—Duke's national champions.

The Blue Devil women's golf team and men's lacrosse team both dominated from start to finish of their 2014 campaigns, and when all the dust settled from championship weekend, Duke had two NCAA champions within three days of one another.

Women's golf captured its sixth title—the most of any program at Duke and all coming under the leadership of head coach Dan Brooks—May 23 at the Tulsa Country Club.

The Blue Devils found themselves trailing the No. 1 team in the country on the back nine after starting the day with a six-stroke lead. It seemed as though Duke had blown its opportunity and that Southern California would claim another title. But Brooks' squad remained poised.

Trailing by three strokes on holes 7-10, it was then that they made their final charge. Then-senior Alejandra Cangrejo led the push, as she birdied three of six holes on 11-17, and the team would post 13 birdies on their final nine holes to finally tie things up at +12 at hole 16. By the time the two teams' groups had reached holes 14-17, Duke commanded a three-stroke lead—a lead the Blue Devils would not surrender. Then-sophomore Celine Boutier nearly captured the individual national title, but narrowly lost out to the Trojans' Doris Chen 274-276.

Generic Script

"I don't want to ever say that one [championship] is better than another, because they were all great experiences," Brooks said. "But to be able to have this group of people fall behind against a team like [Southern California], then keep fighting and come back and have my two seniors come in each shooting 68, have a freshman shoot one-under, and have Celine [playing tremendous]....I can't imagine one of the other championships being better."

Fast forward three days—May 26 at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Blue Devil men's lacrosse team had been on a tear, winning its final nine regular season games. There was, however, a setback in the ACC tournament, as Duke dropped its first contest 16-15 to Syracuse. But, as all great teams do, the Blue Devils looked ahead.

In the NCAA tournament, Duke won its first two games by a combined 11 goals and then edged out No. 2 Denver 15-12 in the semifinals to set up a rematch of the 2011 title game with Notre Dame.

The Blue Devils dominated the first half, taking a 5-1 lead into the locker room. And by the time the Fighting Irish made their charge in the fourth quarter, Duke senior attackman Jordan Wolf and the Blue Devils answer perfectly and sealed the game. Wolf tallied two goals—including a game-sealing dagger with 23 seconds left—and four assists to hand the Blue Devils an 11-9 victory for their second straight national title and third in five years.

Head coach John Danowski became the eighth coach in NCAA history to win at least two consecutive titles and Wolf set the Duke and ACC single-season points record with 103.

After it was all said and done, men's lacrosse and women's golf continued their dominance and were the ones holding the trophies above their heads at the end of the season. As we move into 2015, make sure to stay updated on how these teams and every other Duke team fare by following along with us at The Chronicle and The Blue Zone. Happy New Year!

READ on Duke's national championships:

SIX AND COUNTING: Duke women's golf holds off Southern California for program's sixth national championship

TWICE AS NICE: Duke lacrosse holds off Notre Dame to win second consecutive national championship

Back nine play earns Duke women's golf NCAA title

Aaron, Lobb bolster defensive unit for Duke lacrosse in NCAA title repeat

Previously in The Chronicle's Top 10:

10. Shaun Wilson runs past Kansas, into record books

9. Ka'lia Johnson notches seventh triple-double in program history

8. Duke men's soccer upsets No. 1 North Carolina

7. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood declare for 2014 NBA Draft

6. Duke basketball takes down then-No. 2 Wisconsin

5. Duke basketball's freshman class living up to expectations

4. Duke-North Carolina rivalry postponed by winter storm

3. Construction begins on Wallace Wade Stadium, other athletic facilities

2. Mercer stuns Duke in NCAA tournament Round of 64


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