Duke Lacrosse has had to come a long way since the national attention brought on by false rape allegations in 2006. The tactic that's likely been most effective in changing the public face of the program could be considered the most difficult, but the Blue Devils have made it look easy: Winning.
The team took home their third national championship on Monday (2010, 2013, 2014) holding off Notre Dame 11-9 in Baltimore.
Defining a dynasty is tricky business. And few would say the Blue Devils are their quite yet. But they have certainly formed a solid foundation for such a label. This is the second consecutive title for Duke and the third in five years. Coach John Danowski told ESPN after the game he had full faith and confidence in this round of seniors.
"Because they understood from the beginning," Danowski said. "They understood what Duke Lacrosse is about. And I trusted them. I love these kids and I trusted them."
The Memorial Day victory was a long time coming for one Duke player. Casey Carroll left the team after his senior season in 2007 to serve in the Army for four years. He returned last year, but could not play in the championship because of an injury. He's now a graduate student with a wife and two children.
It wasn't the prettiest win for the Blue Devils. They held a comfortable four point lead heading into the fourth and final period. They managed to give away the ball a couple of time, allowing the Irish within one point going into the final minutes of the game. Duke scored once more with less than two minutes left to put the game out of reach for Notre Dame.
"But they're kids," said Coach Danowski. "They're kids playing a game. They're resilient, they hung in there, and managed the end."
DUKE DOES IT AGAIN! Duke wins its 2nd straight lacrosse national championship, holding off Notre Dame, 11-9. » pic.twitter.com/jwQX6ou9T9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 26, 2014
— Inside Lacrosse (@Inside_Lacrosse) May 26, 2014