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Aaron Saves 9 to Guide No. 3 Duke Past No. 4 Denver and other WEEKEND HEADLINES

by Press Release

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke sophomore goalkeeper Luke Aaron came off the bench to record nine saves over the final three periods as the third-ranked Blue Devils posted a 14-10 win over fourth-ranked Denver on Saturday afternoon in Durham, N.C.

"I think after the first few saves [I started getting comfortable], said Aaron. "The team really rallied behind me and I felt at ease. The defensemen let me see the shots and they supported me. It was a big team effort today."

The Blue Devils improve to 2-0, while the Pioneers fall to 1-1.

"Watching [Denver] on film offensively they just scared the heck out of us," said head coach John Danowski. "They're extremely talented, extremely patient and they play a style that's unlike anybody plays. So I was very proud of our guys and the way they hustled all day. It was a very good win for us over a very talented team."

Aaron took the reins in the Duke net to open the second period and allowed just three goals over the next 36-plus minutes as Duke pushed a 5-4 lead to a 14-7 advantage early in the fourth quarter. His previous career-best effort was a seven-save outing against Mercer on February 17, 2013.

"Luke had been playing terrific in practice and we just felt that it was time to see if we could create a spark," Danowski said. "I think when Luke made that first save I think that the guys got really excited and it helped the team." Led by a career-high three tallies by Deemer Class, Duke received nine goals from its first and second midfield lines while faceoff specialist Brendan Fowler and longstick midfielder Luke Duprey added one marker apiece. After sitting out last week's season opener, sophomore attackman Case Matheis posted two goals and two assists.

"They locked the bases so the attackmen were always covered," said Class. "So we have to throw it back to the middie and the middie has to make a move or one more to the other middie. So it was guys being unselfish and moving it one more as the keys to our success."

The tilt between two top-five squads included a high-scoring opening period as Duke secured a 5-4 advantage after 15 minutes thanks to two goals and one assist from Matheis. After Denver tied the game less than two minutes into the second quarter on Jeremy Noble's goal, Duke outscored the Pioneers by a 3-1 margin to close the half for an 8-6 lead at intermission.

The Pioneers pulled within one goal at 8-7 early in the third period, but Duke used a 6-0 run over the next 17 minutes capped by Class's third score of the afternoon for a 14-7 advantage with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter. Denver ended its scoring drought of 19:41 at the 8:05 mark of the fourth quarter to and scored the game's final three goals to account for the final margin.

At the faceoff X, Fowler won 16 of 27 draws and was credited with nine ground balls. Duke won the overall ground ball battle 32-21, including 17-7 in the second half.

Denver was led by Zach Miller's four-goal performance while Wesley Berg found the back of the net three times. Between the pipes, Jamie Faus (6 saves; 8 goals allowed) and Ryan LaPlante (7 saves; 6 goals allowed) split the two halves.

Duke will host No. 18 Pennsylvania on Friday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast by ESPN3.
“It was a great lacrosse game,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “It was two great lacrosse teams battling out there that will hopefully be in the hunt for a National Championship come May. I thought Duke came out and played with a lot of emotion. They are a really good team, really athletic and made some saves against us. I liked our kids' spirit and I really like how we played in the first half. We know the things we need to work on to be better next weekend.”

The loss drops the Pioneers to 1-1 on the season, while the No. 3/1 ranked Blue Devils improve to 2-0.

Along with Miller's four goals, junior Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, B.C.) netted his second hat trick of the season off. Sophomore Jack Bobzien (Littleton, Colo.) and senior Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) both finished with three points off a goal and two assists.

Juniors Erik Adamson (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and Sean Cannizzaro (Cazenovia, N.Y.) both finished with a point each as Adamson netted his first of the season, while Cannizzaro tallied his second assist on the year.

Senior goalie Jamie Faus (Lakeville, Conn.) finished with six saves in the first half and junior Ryan LaPlante (Fort Collins, Colo.) made seven in the second half. Faus also finished with three ground balls. Face-off specialist Chris Hampton (Bethesda, Md.) won 10 of 24 face-offs on the day and grabbed three ground balls.

Denver held the advantage in saves (13 to 10), while Duke led in shots (41 to 30) and ground balls (32 to 21).

Duke opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the game as Case Matheis scored an unassisted goal. Denver answered almost two minutes later as Miller netter his third of the season. After back-to-back goals by the Blue Devils, Miller scored his second of the game with 9:55 left in the first quarter as Bobzien tallied his third assist of the season.

Duke's Matheis scored with 8:28 left in the first to put the Blue Devils up 4-2 and Bobzien answered with his fifth of the season with 6:17 remaining. After Duke scored with 29 second left, Miller scored his third of the game with three seconds left, taking advantage of the Pioneers' man-advantage to close out the first quarter trailing 5-4.

Noble opened the second quarter with his second of the season to tie the game with 13:01 left, but Duke answered with two straight goals to regain the lead. Berg scored his first of the day with 3:24 left to play in the second quarter to make it 7-6 Duke, but the Blue Devils kept the Pioneers at a two-goal distance with a goal just 2:35 before the halftime break. Duke took an 8-6 advantage heading into the locker room.

Adamson scored to open the third quarter, but Duke unleashed six straight goals, taking the game into the fourth quarter to take a 14-7 advantage. In the final eight minutes, the Pioneers were able to rattle off three goals as Berg netted two and Miller netted his fourth of the day, but it wasn't enough as the Pioneers fell 14-10.

Up next, Denver welcomes Air Force, Marist and Canisius to Peter Barton Stadium for the annual Frontier Airlines Face-Off Classic, beginning on Saturday, Feb. 22. Air Force will open the Classic against Canisius at 11:00 a.m., followed by the Pioneers' game against Marist at 1:30 p.m.