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May-27-2007 07:27

NCAA Lacrosse: Late Heroics Lift Duke Past Cornell, 12-11

The second-ranked Blue Devils improve to 17-2 on the year and will meet third-seeded and fifth-ranked Johns Hopkins in the championship game on Monday.

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BALTIMORE - Story by: The Associated Press

Courtesy: Duke Athletics

Scoring sensation Zack Greer rifled home the game-winning goal with just three seconds left in the game to provide the winning margin in Duke’s 12-11 thrilling victory over Cornell in the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.

Cornell erased a seven-goal deficit and tied the game at 11-11 with just 17 seconds remaining on Brian Clayton’s unassisted goal.

On the ensuring face-off, Terrence Molinari scooped up the ground ball and found Peter Lamade near midfield.

Lamade then drove to the goal and fed Greer, who deposited his fourth goal of the day into the net to push the Blue Devils back into the championship game for a rematch of the 2005 title tilt with Johns Hopkins.

The Blue Jays advanced to Monday’s final with an 8-3 triumph over Delaware.

Greer finished with four goals and one assist on the day while goalkeeper Dan Loftus was credited for 16 saves. Greer now has 67 tallies on the year, marking the third-highest single-season total in NCAA history.

The announced attendance of 52,004 establishes a new NCAA men’s lacrosse semifinal day record, bettering the previous high of 49,512 set last year in Philadelphia, Pa.

The second-ranked Blue Devils improve to 17-2 on the year and will meet third-seeded and fifth-ranked Johns Hopkins in the championship game on Monday (1:00 p.m.; ESPN).

The 17 victories match the NCAA single-season record for wins, matching the mark held by the 2005 Duke, 2006 Hofstra and 2006 Virginia squads.

The national championship appearance will be the second for Duke, who fell to Johns Hopkins 9-8 in 2005.

Cornell ends its season at 15-1.

The Big Red had an early opportunity when Duke’s Casey Carroll was whistled for a two-minute penalty.

The Blue Devils were able to kill off the penalty without allowing a shot attempt.

Cornell did manage to draw first just over three minutes into the game when David Mitchell scored off a feed from Eric Pittard.

Ned Crotty put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard with a dodge from up top and unassisted goal with 5:01 left in the opening quarter.

Cornell’s Brian Clayton responded by scooping up a rebound and scoring for a 2-1 Big Red lead at the 4:45 mark.

After Danowski intercepted an outlet pass to keep possession, the senior from Farmingdale, N.Y., scored off a pass from Crotty to tie the game with 2:28 on the clock.

Cornell regained the lead when Henry Bartlett found the back of the net at the 1:25 mark, but the Blue Devils found the equalizer just 21 seconds later when Danowski fed Zack Greer for his 64th goal of the year.

Straight off a successful clear attempt for the Blue Devils, Brad Ross netted a goal from Peter Lamade to push Duke ahead, 4-3, with 4:55 remaining before halftime.

Greer’s fastbreak tally from Max Quinzani at the 1:16 mark increased the margin to two goals.

Off the ensuing face-off, Parker McKee found open room to run down the middle of the field and beat Cornell goalkeeper Matt McMonagle high with a shot for a 6-3 advantage.

Duke capped its four-goal second quarter when Nick O'Hara scored from Ross with 28 seconds left, sending the teams into intermission with the Blue Devils ahead, 7-3.

The Blue Devil run reached six straight goals in the third period when a pass from Danowski led to Greer’s third tally of the afternoon for an 8-3 advantage with 9:04 left in the quarter.

Less than one minute later, Crotty fired the ball into the top left corner of the net to push Duke ahead by six goals, 9-3.

Greer then found an open Fred Krom on the right side, and he too found the top left corner for a goal and Duke claimed a 10-3 advantage with 3:46 left in the third period.

The Big Red closed the third quarter with three consecutive goals to pull within 10-6, with Mitchell posting two tallies in the run.

Mitchell’s fourth goal of the day made the score 10-7 with 13:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Ross stopped the Cornell spurt at four goals with an unassisted goal at the 11:21 mark, bumping the Duke lead back to four goals at 11-7.

Brian Clayton answered just eight seconds later, scoring to make the score 11-8, and Christian Pastirik’s extra-man goal pulled the Big Red to within two.

Cornell cut the deficit to 11-10 on a goal by Casey Lewis off a feed from Rocco Romero with 6:20 left in the game.

Ross and Crotty both added three points on the day with two goals and an assist apiece.

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