Emotional ending for Blue Devils
Johns Hopkins edges Duke to win lacrosse title
There were hugs, handshakes, and plenty of tears. The Duke lacrosse team had run through a myriad of emotions over the past 14 months, and now it was over.
The Blue Devils had an almost unfathomable comeback fall short in a 12-11 loss to Johns Hopkins in the NCAA men's championship game yesterday in Baltimore, and afterward the locker room was eerily silent.
"Right now I think everyone in here is thinking, 'Wow, we just lost the national championship.' In a couple of weeks, maybe we'll say, 'Look what we accomplished,' " goaltender Dan Loftus said.
The result left Duke's players engulfed in an emotion they hadn't experienced in nearly a year -- bitter disappointment.
Duke's performance effectively eliminated the residue of an agonizing 2006 season that was canceled after eight games.
The Blue Devils fell, 9-8, to Hopkins in the 2005 title game, but missed a chance to return to the Final Four in 2006 after a woman hired to strip at a team party claimed she was attacked by three Duke players.
The allegations, which included rape and kidnapping charges, ultimately proved to be false. But the revelation came too late to save Duke's season.
The Blue Jays (13-4) never trailed in winning their ninth national championship. But they blew a six-goal halftime lead and found themselves locked in a tie at 11 after Duxbury's Max Quinzani scored for Duke with 4:37 remaining.
Hopkins attackman Kevin Huntley followed with his third goal of the game, with 3:25 to go, but the Blue Jays couldn't celebrate until Quinzani's shot went wide of the goal as time expired.
"I thought it was going in. It must have been an inch and a half wide of that bottom right corner," Quinzani said.
After the clock expired, the Blue Jays celebrated and the Blue Devils (17-3) gathered in a somber huddle in front of their bench.
"Last year just made us a tighter group," Quinzani said. "That's why so many of us are so emotional right now."
The Hurricanes were one of seven Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the field, while Vanderbilt (51-11) is the top overall seed. Brown (27-19) is making its first appearance after winning the Ivy League title and opens at regional host Texas Friday at 8 p.m.
NCAA Division 2 -- Franklin Pierce was eliminated, 3-0, by Southern Indiana in Montgomery, Ala., as Cory Julian shut down the Ravens (47-11) on three hits.
NCAA Division 1 -- At Athens, Ga., Virginia's Somdev Devvarman won two decisive tiebreak games to beat John Isner of Georgia, 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), and become the school's first singles titlist. Miami's Audra Cohen beat Southern California's Lindsey Nelson, 7-5, 6-2, for the women's championship.
Behind Marco Born and Andreas Siljestrom, Middle Tennessee won its first men's doubles title the day before coach Dale Short's retirement. North Carolina roommates Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long claimed the women's doubles title, the first in school history.