Thanks to C.J. Costabile's fast-break goal five seconds into the first overtime period, Duke claimed its first NCAA championship, and became just the eighth men's lacrosse champion in modern history. A few thoughts on the game:
How the game was won:
By not giving up. Both teams had to deal with the heat, and Notre Dame forced Duke to play at a much slower pace that it's used to. But the Blue Devils stuck to their game plan and were able to take advantage of an opportunity in overtime to win the game.
I hope Duke's Steve Schoeffel, a senior midfielder, does not get overlooked. He was an absolute stud today, when many of the players on the field looked slow and a bit tired after the quick turnaround from Saturday's semifinal. The Charlottesville, Va., native is always hustling and never makes dumb plays. He was the difference in this game.
Player of the game:
Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers might deserve the MVP trophy even in a loss. He was the reason the Irish were able to make it to overtime. However, let's give it to Costabile -- not only for the game-winning goal, but for hopping up and providing a great battle at the X.
I was not a fan of the game from top to bottom. I like fast-paced, quality lacrosse. This was quality lacrosse, but just not my speed. Notre Dame's defense should hold its head high -- shutting down Duke's prolific duo of Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani (both held scoreless, one assist each) to the point that they were visibly frustrated is a tough task. Congrats to Duke and coach John Danowski for finding a way to win.
Brett Hughes is a former Virginia All-American, Major League Lacrosse All-Star and current LXM pro player, as well as the co-founder and vice president of Lacrosse the Nations. You can check out the group's work here.