JUICED: Duke men's lacrosse squeezes Syracuse, advances to ACC tournament championship with dominant win

CHARLOTTE—They say revenge is best served cold. 

For Duke men’s lacrosse, a tall glass of orange juice is just what the doctor ordered. 

Just more than a month ago, the Blue Devils fell to Syracuse in the conference opener as the Orange defense put on a clinic, holding Duke to just four goals — its fewest since 2012 — while pouring in 10 of their own for a decisive win. 

Friday night, with much more on the line, the Blue Devils got their revenge behind five goals by junior Andrew McAdorey, and advanced to the ACC tournament championship with a 18-13 battering of Syracuse. 

“Every game, we're just trying to grow. Today, we just played our game,” McAdorey said. 

Despite being down five, Syracuse entered the second half with momentum, following a 4-2 run in the second quarter. A foul on Duke as time expired gave the Orange the ball to start the third. Just 20 seconds following the whistle, Joey Spallina buried his third goal of the game, cutting the Blue Devil lead to four and putting his team in the driver's seat. 

But after a Patrick Jameison save, the Blue Devils cleared the ball to senior Brennan O’Neill, who quickly proved once again why he won last year’s Tewaaraton award and was on the watch list again. Starting with the ball, he dashed around the outside before whipping a shot past three Syracuse defenders and substitute goalkeeper Jimmy McCool for his third goal of the night, 47th of the season and 200th of his career.

“I’ve played with Brennan since I was in third grade, so being able to see him do his thing and dominate college lacrosse and reach these milestones makes me super happy for him,” McAdorey said. “He’s a great overall player, he’s a great leader. He’s just gotta keep leading the way.” 

O’Neill soon got 201, behind another rocket past McCool with 11:10 remaining in the third. Dyson Williams scored two straight of his own for his third and fourth of the evening with seven minutes left in the third quarter. The lead extended to nine behind goal number five from McAdorey. All juice drained out of the Orange, and Duke was back in control for the rest of the game. 

The barrage started early, as the Blue Devils peppered starting Orange goalie Will Mark with three shots in the first two minutes. After regaining possession for a fourth time, O’Neill found Williams who sent the ball past Mark to put the Blue Devils up early. 

Freshman Cal Girard, starting in place of Jake Naso, won the faceoff before McAdorey wrapped one around the back of the net then scored another. After just three minutes, Duke found itself up 2-0.

The faceoff favored the Blue Devils once again. Josh Zawada passed around with Williams, waiting for the right moment, then rifled one in. 

McAdorey scored again. Then, Max Sloat got in on the action with a goal. 

Not even five minutes in, Duke had scored five. Head coach Gary Gait called a Syracuse timeout — his team hadn’t even touched the ball. 

It was an effective timeout for the Orange, who forced a Blue Devil turnover and settled in offensively. On their second trip to the Duke end, they got a goal back as graduate Jake Stevens sent one past Jameison. 

McAdorey was sent to the box for a slash, giving Syracuse a man-up opportunity it didn’t waste. It was Stevens again for the Orange, who sent a missile to the upper corner to bring it to 5-2. 

But as soon as he reentered the contest, McAdorey called for the ball and got it, scoring his third of the game. 

With defensive focus on McAdorey, O’Neill stepped into the spotlight, scoring an unassisted goal for his 45th of the year. Jameison made two saves on the other end, before the Blue Devils capitalized off a man-up chance of their own, with Dyson Williams netting his second of the game. 

As the clock ticked under a minute in the first quarter, McAdorey’s pass from behind the net found Grant Mitchell midair, who dumped it behind McCool. Time soon expired for the first quarter, with the Blue Devils up 9-2. 

Syracuse won the opening faceoff of the second quarter, and one minute for slashing on Henry Barr put the Orange up a man. But a save from Jameison and a shot wide soon gave way to a goal for Spallina. They won the ensuing faceoff off a ground ball pickup from Sam English, who dished it to Mason Kohn, leading to another ball ball past Jameison. 

The teams traded turnovers before Stevens scored again, the third straight for Syracuse.  

Six minutes passed with no breakthroughs by either team, with four scores from the Orange and two from Duke. As the clock crept under four minutes, McAdorey scored again for his fourth of the game, but Syracuse quickly answered behind a fast break goal by Spallina. 

With less than a minute left in the half and the shot clock under 10 seconds, O’Neill caught a popped-up ball, and looked to shoot as he came down with it, but he was met in the air by an Orange defender. He pushed through the contact, shot faked, then fired under McCool for his second score of the evening. The Blue Devils went into the half with an 11-6 lead.

Syracuse netted six in the fourth quarter to bring the scoring to a close, 18-13

Next up for Duke is a second date with No. 1 Notre Dame Sunday at noon, this time for the ACC championship. 

“Notre Dame is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. They play very simply and very well,” head coach John Danowski said. “They’re very balanced and very skilled, but we're excited for the opportunity to play the number one team in the country.”

“We’re gonna prepare the same way we always prepare,” McAdorey said. “We’re just looking forward to the challenge.”


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