BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 29: The Duke Blue Devils celebatre game winning gaol against the Virginia Cavaliers during the 2010 NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Semifinal Championship game on May 29, 2010 at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

2010 NCAA Lacrosse Finals: Duke Wins First-Ever Title, Tops Notre Dame 6-5 In OT

After a thrilling upset over top-ranked UVA, Duke finished off the Cinderellas in the room, dispatching Notre Dame in overtime, 6-5, claiming the program's first-ever lacrosse National Championship.

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With Win, Duke Lacrosse Joins Very Elite, Very Exclusive Club

Duke spent the last decade as college lacrosse’s version of the 90’s Houston Oilers. They always seemed to be among the best teams all season, they always seemed to be a top seed in the playoffs and yet they never won anything.

Still, it’s not as though they were the only team to fit that bill over the years. Considering only seven schools has ever won a National Title in NCAA lacrosse (Virginia, Syracuse, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Maryland and Cornell), that makes for a lot of good-but-not-great lax programs left in the dust. So many have tried to take their place among the elite and so many have failed.

Now, Duke has broken through.

They did so by beating a Notre Dame team that was in the same boat, looking for a win to propel their program to a new echelon. Some could probably point to this as a sign that the sport is finally ready to let go of it’s old-guard mentality and expand. Then again, those people should remember that the aforementioned former champions were all in the playoffs this year and many of them were top seeds.

In that sense, the pressure is actually on Duke and Notre Dame even more so now. They have laid down the gauntlet that both are deserving of a spot among the elite ranks. Now they have to prove it. Elite lacrosse programs don’t just win a title. They win multiple titles. They dominate. They get to the point where we only notice them when they’re NOT playing for the national title.

Duke’s win represents a bit of a crossroads for the game. The Blue Devils have officially put the events of 2006 behind them and they’ve broken through the glass ceiling of a very exclusive sport. Then again, because the usual suspects weren’t playing for the championship, the crowd for today’s title game was the smallest since 2003.

We’re eager to see where the Blue Devils, and the sport, go from here.

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Virginia, Duke, Cornell And Notre Dame Will Play In 2010 NCAA Lacrosse Final Four

No. 1 Virginia’s reward for winning their first-round NCAA tournament game? To play frisky No. 8 Stony Brook IN Stony Brook. So much for having an advantage. The top-seeded Cavaliers got a heck of an effort from the home team but held on for a 10-9 victory. Virginia heads back to the Final Four for the third-straight year.

They’ll take on fellow ACC squad Duke in the Final Four. The No. 4 Blue Devils defeated the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels in the newest extension of the two school’s rivalry. Duke scored four straight goals in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter and never looked back en route to a 17-9 victory.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 7 Cornell breathed a sigh of relief when Army upset No. 2 Syracuse last weekend. They took advantage of the opportunity by throttling the Black Knights 14-5. It’s Cornell’s third trip to the Final Four in four years and they’ll look to take home the title they came so close to winning last year.

They’ll have to get past Notre Dame first. The unseeded Irish were considered a controversial pick when they were added to the tournament. They’ve taken the opportunity to prove their worth and then some. They followed up their win over No. 6 Princeton with a 7-5 slugfest win over No. 3 Maryland. It’s Notre Dame’s first trip to the Final Four since 2001.

With the loss, it was another disappointing finish for a Maryland program way-too-far removed from their last championship. That’s probably a large part of why Dave Cottle resigned as Terrapins’ head coach the day following the loss. Cottle took Maryland to the Final Four three times since 2001 but did not return the program to the top of the sport.

As for the four winners, it’s on to the Final Four in Baltimore next weekend. The semifinals will take place on Saturday with the title game on Monday. For Virginia, they’re trying to win their first time in four years. Cornell is trying to win their first title since 1977. Meanwhile Duke and Notre Dame are both in search of their first titles.

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How Big Of An Upset Was Army's 9-8 Win Over Syracuse?

It’s tough to find sympathy for Syracuse lacrosse after their 9-8 double OT loss to Army on Sunday. The two-time defending National Champions have been to the Final Four so often, there isn’t a school out there who isn’t happy to see their “spot” open up for someone else.

For Syracuse fans, it’s a strange feeling. Certainly very few of them expected to loss this weekend, let alone before the Final Four.

May 16th. The Syracuse lacrosse season ends two weeks early. On one hand, it’s the third time in six years we’ve missed the Final Four, which is unheard-of. On the other hand, we’re coming off two National Championships and I suppose we were due for a stumble. Technically I guess we’re not supposed to be bummed because of our recent success but when you root for SU lacrosse and you expect to win the title every year, losing this early does not feel good.

It might be too soon to rank exactly where this loss ranks on the all-time upset list. It’s certainly up there. SU ended the year 13-1 and had beaten Army 12-7 earlier in the season. The Orange hadn’t lost in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament since 2005,which also happened to be the only time they had made the tournament and failed to make the Final Four since 1983.

Patrick Stevens over at D1SCOURCE says that the Army-Syracuse upset ranks as the No. 2 upset of all time, just behind Johns Hopkins win over Maryland in the ’87 Final Four.

It would probably rate as No. 1 if it happened later in the tournament. As it stands, this will have to suffice as lacrosse’s answer to Arizona-Santa Clara, South Carolina-Coppin State, Iowa State-Hampton and, yes, Syracuse-Richmond. The Black Knights were 0-3 against the tournament field, and the Orange had long made a late spring trip to the Carrier Dome an unwinnable situation. But even after Syracuse built a 5-1 lead, Army didn’t wilt. It scored in the final minute of the second and third quarters, erased an 8-6 deficit in the final 10 minutes and got a goal from Devin Lynch with five seconds left in the second overtime to pull a titanic shocker.

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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament First Round: Syracuse Shocked By Army, Virginia & Maryland Advance

Since the early 80’s, an investment is a Final Four ticket was about as sure a thing as a Syracuse lacrosse fan could make. The Orange made the Final Four 22-straight years between 1983 and 2005 and had only missed the Final Four twice since ’83. Despite being the No. 2 seed this year, Syracuse will miss out on the Final Four for the third time in the last six years after losing 9-8 in double overtime to unseeded Army.

The Syracuse lacrosse team’s season ended abruptly Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when a couple of Central New York products teamed up for the winning goal with 5.7 seconds left in the second sudden-death overtime period. Army (11-5) won 9-8 before a crowd of 5,479 in the Carrier Dome and will face Cornell on Sunday at Stony Brook.

The Black Knights avenged a loss to the Orange in the regular season in what has to be one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Lacrosse Tournament history. The road just opened up great for the other favorites in the tournament, all of whom won on opening weekend.

No. 1 Virginia, in their first game since the Yeardley Love tragedy, got back to what they do best…dominating on the field. They beat over-matched Mount Saint Mary 18-4 and moved on the 2nd round. With the Orange out and proof that their heads are in the game, the Cavs are once again the clear favorite to win the tournament.

In other games:

No. 3 Maryland used a balanced attack to outlast Hofstra 11-8.

Johns Hopkins was a controversial selection based on their 7-7 record and they did nothing to prove they belonged in the tournament. No. 4 Duke blew Hopkins out 18-5 and got a modicum of revenge for all the times the Jays beat them in the tournaments’ past.

No. 5 North Carolina got a great game from Delaware. The two teams both scored six times in the first quarter, once in the second quarter and twice in the fourth quarter. It was the one extra goal the Tar Heels scored in the third that was the difference-maker as they held on for a 14-13 victory.

Notre Dame was also a controversial pick for the tournament. Unlike Hopkins, they proved their worth by upsetting No. 6 Princeton 8-5. The Irish allowed only one 2nd-half goal.

No. 7 Cornell is not only ecstatic after beating Loyola 11-10 in double overtime but also because they don’t have to see Syracuse in the 2nd round. Junior Max Feely’s first-career goal couldn’t have come at a better time.

Finally, No. 8 Stony Brook earned the right to take on mighty Virginia after topping Denver 9-7 and ending Bill Tierney’s storybook first season with the Pioneers.

Let’s take a look at the brackets for next week’s Quarterfinal round. The winners here will go on to the Final Four in Baltimore Memorial Day Weekend.

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 8 Stony Brook

No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Duke

No. 3 Maryland vs. Notre Dame

No. 7 Cornell vs. Army

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