DURHAM, N.C. – Jacksonville University men's lacrosse matched No. 1 Duke goal-for-goal in the second period of Saturday afternoon's contest at a foggy Koskinen Stadium, but the Dolphins ultimately fell to the Blue Devils, 19-8.
"Duke proved again today that they are very worthy of the number one ranking. They are a complete team from top to bottom and they showed our guys that for 60 minutes," stated head coach John Galloway. "I was incredibly disappointed with our effort and toughness in big moments of truth throughout the game. That is my fault for not preparing us well enough for this game.
"With all that said, I am incredibly encouraged with this team's potential. Our defense, led by [freshman] Dixon Smith, has proven that they have the potential to defend the number one team in the country in the 6 v 6 game. We are going back to work Monday in Duval to prepare for a tall task in Milwaukee next Saturday. I am excited for that challenge."
The Dolphins received a second consecutive four-point performance from junior Eric Applegate, while senior Hunter Forbes added another stellar performance at the X and won 18-of-28 face offs. Forbes finished the day with a game-high seven ground balls, while senior captain Ryan Beville picked up four.
Sophomore Adam Baker totaled seven saves in the opening half and allowed just nine goals.
Facing a 5-0 deficit, the Dolphins (1-1) got on the board less than a minute into the second as senior Shawn Ewert connected with freshman Gavin Legg at the 14:05 mark. Jacksonville found the Blue Devils on their heels in transition as Legg slipped his defender, found a gap in front of the crease, and buried the helper from Ewert past Duke goalkeeper Danny Fowler's left shoulder.
With a hand in three of the Dolphins' next four goals, Applegate ignited the offense before halftime. Coming around the left side of the cage, Applegate pivoted off his defender's left shoulder and went high to low for the Dolphins' second goal at 11:47. Later, with the quarter winding down, Applegate faked his defender with a step toward the top of the restraining box, then cut across to the left side of the crease and finished a shot. The Ponte Vedra, Fla. native was met with a late hit that produced a two-minute extra-man opportunity for the Dolphins with 3:39 left in the half.
Down 9-3 but with a man advantage, sophomore Will Hendrick linked up with senior captain Chase McIntyre on the right as the 6-foot-5 Canadian ripped a shot over top of his defender to the near side of the cage with 2:51 showing. The Dolphins trailed by just five at halftime, 9-4.
Jacksonville posted its third-straight goal coming out of the intermission as sophomore Dwayne Mattushik finished a cross-crease pass from Applegate to bring the Dolphins within striking distance, 9-5, with 13:42 to go in the third.
The Blue Devils (3-0) countered with a 6-0 run that extended to the 11:34 mark in the fourth, but it was Applegate once more who found the net for Jacksonville. Quick on the transition, keeper Hunter Sells scooped a ground ball and caught Legg at midfield. In a bang-bang play that would've been his second point if hockey assists counted, Legg dished to freshman Jack Dolan near the right side, who connected with Applegate. The fake high, go low maneuver worked as Applegate completed his hat trick past an outstretched Fowler, to recorded his second-straight four-point performance.
With 6:50 remaining, Ewert fed an open Alec Drosos on the right side before finishing a shot himself (3:46) just over three minutes later.
Duke's offense was fueled by nine points from Justin Guterding (4g, 5a), while Fowler picked up six saves and the win between the pipes.
The Dolphins extend their road trip with a visit to Marquette next Saturday, Feb. 17. Opening faceoff is set for 1 p.m.