DURHAM — When freshman attacker Case Matheis first came to Duke, he wasnt quite ready to play, coach John Danowski said.
After a few games, though, he caught up to speed and started the rest of the way.
Sunday evening, it was Matheis who scored the winning goal in the second overtime to give Duke a 12-11 win against Loyola, the defending national champions, in the first round of the NCAA mens lacrosse tournament.
It was all pretty fast, its a blur. I just remember seeing the ball fall on the ground, Matheis said of his game-winner, which came with 1 minute, 40 seconds left on the clock. Its OT, you hold nothing back, and lets see what you can make happen.
After Matheis scored, he was quickly tackled by his teammates in the right corner of the field.
The goal sends Duke (13-5), the No. 7 overall seed, to Indianapolis to play No. 2 Notre Dame in the quarterfinals next weekend. The Blue Devils have made six consecutive championship weekends, a streak that began when Matheis was in middle school.
He was also responsible for extending the game into overtime with the tying goal. Senior David Lawson had his shot bounce off the post, and Matheis and junior Josh Dionne crashed the net. Dionnes shot was blocked, and Matheis was there to push the ball just over the line with 1:05 remaining in regulation.
The Greyhounds (11-5) put the ball in the Duke net with 59 seconds left in the game, seemingly giving them the 12-11 advantage. But coach Charley Toomey had called a timeout a decision he had made before Blake Burkhart won the faceoff clean and deposited the ball in the goal and the score didnt count.
We said it in the huddle, if we get it in the box, were going to call an immediate timeout, Toomey said. Well live with that. Its something Im going to have to live with.
Duke goalie Kyle Turri, who registered 13 saves, hadnt heard the whistle blowing the play dead. There was a wave of relief, Turri said, and the clock ran to zero.
Danowski gave his team a clear focus headed to overtime: play to win.
Dont worry about the consequences of screwing up or not making a play, Danowski said. So that was kind of the mantra. Just play to win.
Loyola controlled the pace in the first half and built a 7-2 lead. Duke scored two quick goals in the final two minutes of the second quarter to go into the half down 7-4.
Long stick midfielder Scott Ratliff added his 14th goal of the season to put Loyola up 8-4 early in the third, but Duke scored five unanswered goals to take a 9-8 lead.
Loyola last led with 3:32 left in the game, when Zach Herreweyes made it 11-10 thanks to his third goal.
Then Matheis, who had waited for his opportunity at the beginning of the season, put his two goals in the back of the net.
Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley