It was late Saturday as coach John Danowski and his Duke assistants rolled through game footage in their Center City hotel. They had finished the first three-quarters of the afternoon's NCAA men's lacrosse semifinal win over Cornell when their players entered for a scheduled 11 p.m. team meeting.
The coach said he did not do this on purpose, but it gave the coach a chance to place a lasting image in his team's memory. Together they watched Cornell rattle off seven fourth-quarter goals and just fall short of toppling Duke.
Monday afternoon will be a 60-minute game, Danowski told his team.
There will be no room for lapses like Saturday's when the seventh-seeded Blue Devils (15-5) meet top-seeded Syracuse (16-3) in the NCAA final at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.
Jordan Wolf, a Lower Merion product, turned back Cornell's rally with the clinching goal in a 16-14 win. He said watching the fourth-quarter footage put the game to bed and allowed his team to move on to Monday. The junior attack has a team-high 53 goals, which he said is a testament to his team's unselfish offense.
Syracuse coach John Desko said he saw Wolf use his speed three or four times Saturday to sprint behind the defense and create easy opportunities.
"Wolf is very dangerous," Desko said. "You really need to know where he is at all times."
The Orange will look to limit Wolf with a combined effort led by senior defenseman Brian Megill. In Saturday's semifinal, the team shut down Denver attack Wesley Berg and held the Pioneers to just three second-half goals in a 9-8 victory.
Syracuse goalie Dominic Lamolinara, a junior, is averaging 8.3 saves in the Orange's three tournament games and has allowed nine second-half goals overall.
"Dom has been playing lights-out," Megill said. "We've been saying all year to give Dom that first shot from far out, let him start seeing the ball early, and that's going to be our goal come game time."
Duke's defense, led by Malvern Prep's Billy Conners, held its ground on Saturday against streaking Cornell. Goalie Kyle Turri, who earlier this season replaced injured Dan Wigrizer of the Haverford School, recorded 16 saves against Cornell. The sophomore was the starting goalie for the under-19 U.S. national team that captured a gold medal in Finland last summer.
Danowski said Saturday was the best game of Turri's young career. He is hoping that Turri will continue to improve.
"That's what we're going to somewhat demand of him," Danowski said. "If we're going to be successful, we're going to need great goalie play on Monday."
Multimedia coverage of the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse final Monday at Lincoln Financial Field, including live blogging and Twitter: inquirer.com/ncaalax
Duke and Syracuse square off for the crown. Story, C2