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ChronSports' Top 10 of 2019—No. 2: Duke men's lacrosse makes Final Four, comes just shy of title game

As 2019 comes to a close, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest stories of the year in Duke athletics. Each day, we will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year for the Blue Devils.

Coming in at No. 2: Duke men's lacrosse advances to the NCAA tournament semifinal after coming out on top in a series of nail-biters, but the Blue Devils' luck runs out in double overtime against eventual national champion Virginia.

The Blue Devils could practically taste championship hardware when they took a 7-4 lead in the third quarter of the NCAA semifinal game against Virginia.

Duke looked like it would be on its way to contend for a sixth national championship until Cavalier attackman Ian Laviano took over the game with his four goals in the second half and overtime. Much like the Virginia basketball team, the Cavalier lacrosse team showed tremendous poise and perseverance, allowing it to deliver during crunch time and mount a tremendous comeback. 

Despite coming up short, the Blue Devils had a season to be proud of. Excluding its loss at the beginning of the season to High Point, Duke never lost by a margin of more than two goals and often times lost in heartbreaking fashion to late game heroics. 

The road to the Final Four was no easy task. In order to get a chance to take on Notre Dame in the quarterfinal, the Blue Devils had to take on Richmond, which showed it had the ability to play well above their record on any given day. Once Duke got to the Fighting Irish, it was a close game to the end. After blowing its lead midway through the fourth quarter, it took a cold-blooded play by attackmen Joe Robertson to send Notre Dame home in overtime.

The Blue Devils had their fair share of individual accolades as well, with now-senior defenseman JT Giles-Harris being crowned the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as well as all three Duke defenders being nominated for the Tewaaraton Award, which goes to the best defenseman in the country.

READ MORE on the Blue Devils' NCAA tournament run:

A look at the rest of our top 10 countdown:

No. 10: Duke wrestling's Mitch Finesilver places 4th in NCAA championships

No. 9: Duke football kicks off season against No. 2 Alabama

No. 8: Haley Gorecki secures place in Duke women's basketball lore

No. 7: Duke women’s tennis makes Final Four run

No. 6: Duke football product Daniel Jones goes No. 6 in NFL Draft

No. 5: A trio of Blue Devils selected in the top 10 of NBA Draft

No. 4: Duke baseball comes within one win of College World Series

No. 3: Duke men's basketball wins 21st ACC tournament title

Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.


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