The Blue Devils have made it to the season’s final weekend in each of head coach John Danowski’s seasons at the helm. Third-seeded Duke will look to begin its march to a sixth straight Final Four Saturday afternoon when they take on Syracuse in Koskinen Stadium.
The Blue Devils defeated the Orange earlier this season, ending a five match losing streak against Syracuse that dated back to 1978. Although the Orange finished the season with an unimpressive 9-7 record, it rebounded nicely to win the Big East tournament in its last two games.
Those wins were a 15-6 victory over Villanova and a 12-4 romp against St. John’s in the Big East championship game. While neither team is particularly impressive, the victories give Syracuse much-needed momentum heading into the tournament and suggest that the Orange has improved since the first matchup.
But the Blue Devils have also done more to prove their mettle since their first matchup with Syracuse, beating the other three ACC teams in a span of just nine days to win the conference’s regular season and tournament titles.
Although Duke closed out the season with a disappointing road loss to Denver, the team started its second string in that game before giving the starters some playing time as well. The Blue Devils, who had won ten straight before their loss to the Pioneers, will look to start another win streak on Saturday.
If Duke advances, it will face the winner of Massachusetts, which was relegated to the No. 6 seed despite its undefeated record and No. 1 ranking in the Inside Lacrosse media poll, and Colgate.