Duke 16, Cornell 14

Turri comes up big as Duke holds off Cornell in NCAA lacrosse semifinals

CorrespondentMay 25, 2013 

— Duke probably didn’t anticipate a career day for freshman goalie Kyle Turri in Saturday’s NCAA tournament semifinals.

The seventh-seeded Blue Devils happily took it en route to a 16-14 defeat of Cornell.

Turri made a career-high 16 saves as Duke took an eight-goal lead late in the third quarter, then fended off the unseeded Big Red at Lincoln Financial Field.

“It took me a little while to get settled in, but I felt like I was seeing the ball today,” Turri said. “They were giving a lot of low-angle shots and our defense was on their hands early. I was pretty happy about getting my saves up.”

The Blue Devils (15-5) will face top-seeded Syracuse in Monday’s championship game.

Jordan Wolf scored four goals for Duke, which will play on Memorial Day for the first time since winning the national championship in 2010.

Nine players scored for the Blue Devils, including defenseman Bill Conners. The senior disrupted the connection between Big Red attackmen Rob Pannell and Steve Mock by limiting Mock’s touches. Mock, who entered with 59 goals, scored only once.

“A lot of people really had a lot to do with today’s victory, and that has been certainly our M.O. all year,” Duke coach John Danowski said.

Duke built a 14-6 lead, only for Pannell and the Big Red (14-4) to chip away at the deficit. Pannell played a part in five goals during a 6-0 run as Cornell closed within 14-12.

David Lawson responded with 6 minutes, 35 seconds to go to halt the Big Red’s run. After Cornell managed a pair of goals in the final two minutes, Wolf scored with the goalie outside the crease with 38.8 seconds left to seal it.

“We tried to stay composed there and not freak out when they were coming back,” faceoff specialist Brendan Fowler said. “We’ve made runs this year when teams are up big on us. You know they’re going to give their best shot. It’s a lot easier sometimes to play when you’re down big because you have nothing to lose. We just needed to get one goal, to get one thing going and Dave Lawson came up huge.”

Fowler won 16 of 31 draws, and has now captured a Division I-record 319 this season. He helped Duke control possession for much of the third quarter, when they scored seven straight goals to burst open what was a 7-6 Blue Devils lead at the half.

Meanwhile, Turri was steady throughout, making four saves in each quarter to stymie the Big Red.

“Sometimes we didn’t produce good enough shots and I don’t think we made it very challenging for him at times,” Cornell coach Ben DeLuca said. “There were times he made some very nice saves and other times we didn’t challenge him as much as we could have or should have, but you have to credit that young man for making plays. That was probably the difference.”

It wasn’t expected. Turri was credited with only four saves in last weekend’s quarterfinal defeat of Notre Dame, and he’s been up and down since taking over as the Blue Devils’ starter in early March.

“Kyle has been solid, but there’s never been a time where he’s been spectacular,” Danowski said. “That could be a function of the way you play defense in front of him and you can’t really help that, but his record is now 13-1. So he’s getting the job done.”

Well enough, it turns out, for Duke to still harbor championship hopes entering the last day of the season.

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