Duke beats Notre Dame to win 1st lacrosse title

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Every kid with a lacrosse stick envisions scoring the goal that wins the national championship.

C.J. Costabile thought about it when he was growing up, never believing the opportunity would come his way.

And then it did.

Costabile scored with five seconds gone in sudden-death overtime Monday, giving Duke its first NCAA men’s lacrosse title with a 6-5 win over Notre Dame.

Asked if he once dreamed of pulling off such a feat, Costabile said, “Everyone kind of thinks about that. It’s kind of cool. It’s fairy tale stuff. You don’t think it’s going to happen.”

And then, after a slight pause, he added, “I guess it kind of happened.”

Costabile won the faceoff from Trever Sipperly and sprinted downfield before beating standout goaltender Scott Rodgers with a shot from directly in front of the net.

“I took my lane, it was open,” Costabile said. “Whether I decided to shoot high or low, I couldn’t tell you. I just kind of let it rip and saw the back of the net move.”

The Blue Devils rushed onto the field and created a massive pile of players, sticks and helmets while celebrating the fastest goal to start an overtime in NCAA championship game history.

“For C.J. to make a play like he did in overtime certainly made it a lot easier for the rest of us,” Duke coach John Danowski said.

Said Rodgers: “That’s the kind of shot you don’t want to see as a goalie.”

Duke (16-4) twice before advanced to the title game — and lost by one goal both times. This time, however, the Blue Devils walked away with the championship trophy by defeating the unseeded Irish (10-7).

“The best feeling about it was we set this goal at the beginning of the year,” Costabile said.

It was the lowest-scoring title game in history, yet what it lacked in offense it made up for in drama. There were five ties, and neither team led by more than one goal.

“We thought we could win a game playing like this, but we came up one play short,” Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said.

The previous lowest-scoring game was in 1982, when North Carolina beat Johns Hopkins 7-5.

Zach Brenneman scored three goals and Rodgers finished with 15 saves for the Irish, but he couldn’t stop the last shot that came his way. That ended a brilliant postseason run by Notre Dame, which defeated three seeded teams to advance to the title game for the first time.

The Irish beat Duke earlier this season, and in the rematch they set the pace from the outset. But the result wasn’t at all what Notre Dame had in mind.

“It hurts,” defenseman Kevin Ridgway said. “We executed our game plan pretty well. We thought we could beat them. It’s kind of a bummer.”

The game was played cautiously by both sides, with defense and possession the priority. The teams set a championship-game record for fewest combined goals through three quarters (eight) and tied the mark for fewest at halftime (five).

Notre Dame went up 5-4 with 11:56 by converting a rare fastbreak. David Earl picked up a loose ball and ran 30 yards before passing across the field to Sean Rogers, who pumped a shot past goaltender Dan Wigrizer.

Justin Turri scored for the Blue Devils with 8:44 left to tie the game for the last time.

Duke led 3-2 at halftime after scoring the lone goal of the second quarter.

The Blue Devils took 13 shots, including nine on goal, but Rodgers — voted the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four — had six saves and Duke committed five turnovers.