Are three national championships in five years the beginning of a dynasty? The answer is “Yes” for the Duke men’s lacrosse team and head coach John Danowski.
Monday afternoon the Blue Devils defeated Notre Dame 11-9 to win their second straight NCAA championship. Led by sophomore midfielder Myles Jones and senior attacker Jordan Wolf, Duke never trailed in the game.
After the win, Danowski joined Paul Rabil and talked about the feeling in the Duke lockerroom.
“It is so incredible to watch young men work toward a goal,” Danowski said, “and you don’t know that you’re going to achieve these things. When you win it’s an unbelievable thrill and so exciting for us.”
Myles Jones also joined Rabil after the win to talk about what made Notre Dame so tough.
“We fought and we knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Jones said. “They made it a scrappy game, but when it came down to it, we had to fall back on our fundamentals. Those guys, they battled, and it was an awesome feeling [to win].”
In two collegiate seasons, Jones now has two championships. So which was sweeter?
Definitely this year. [Last year] the three senior midfielders, they took the role as leaders. So [this year] is more special to me, only because I took that role this year. When my coach needed me to step up, I was on the field playing attack for the clear, I made the plays I needed to. Being a sophomore in this game and making those plays feels really good.
For Rabil, it was all about Wolf in the championship game.
“This Duke team is so talented,” Rabil said on The Lacrosse Show. “Jordan Wolf, their senior leader, was part of the last five goals. Without him, I think the Irish would be holding the trophy right now.”
Duke held Notre Dame to just one goal in the first half, but with 49 seconds to go in the game, Notre Dame closed the game to 10-9. Senior midfielder Brendan Fowler controlled the draw after that goal to set up Wolf’s final goal of the game. Rabil discussed Fowler’s control throughout the championship game.
We can sit here and look at the stats … but you look at that fourth quarter and it’s been [Fowler's] staple all season, how well he does in the fourth and winning the majority of those draws, it killed [Notre Dame's] momentum and was big success for [Duke].
While the Blue Devils will savor this championship back in Durham, Danowski knows the road to the 2015 championship begins now with recruiting and prep.
You gotta figure out what’s going to make you better. One of the things we want to do this summer, we want to write down some of the things that we do. Almost create a comprehensive playbook, maybe one day a video playbook, so when our freshmen come in they can see what a slide in, what a step-in is, what turning a corner is. You always look to reinvent yourself and try to get better.