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Joe Robertson scores in OT as Duke gets past Notre Dame

Duke players celebrate their win in an NCAA

Duke players celebrate their win in an NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinal playoff game against Notre Dame on Saturday at Hofstra. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Joe Robertson didn’t get the usual zip behind this one. His desperation attempt as the shot clock neared zero was something of a changeup that lost even more velocity when it skipped off the turf at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

Perhaps it was the speed change on the lefthanded attempt that caught Notre Dame goalie Matt Schmidt by surprise. Robertson skipped it high and found the twine with 2:33 left in overtime, as No. 2 Duke outlasted No. 7 Notre Dame, 14-13, in front of 8,017 fans Saturday afternoon, punching its ticket to the NCAA semifinals next Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The Blue Devils will play No. 3 Virginia, which needed overtime to beat Maryland, 13-12.

“I was aware of the shot clock,” Robertson said. “I think there were six seconds. I looked to my left, and I think there were a couple seconds before the whistle blew. I realized that they had a short stick on me and the left side of the field was pretty clear. I called for it, and when I got it, I ran as hard as I could to my left and shot the ball with my left hand.”

Nakeie Montgomery assisted Robertson for a late 13-12 advantage after Notre Dame spoiled Duke’s 11-8 lead by going on a 4-0 run and taking a 12-11 lead. Brian Willetts (Smithtown East) converted an assist from Ryder Garnsey that tied the game at 13 with 1:24 left and sent the game to overtime.

A mad rush for the ball at the start of overtime ended with the ball in the stick of Cade Van Raaphorst, prompting a Duke timeout 11 seconds into the extra period. Robertson’s goal came 1:16 later.

“We always talk about how we want to be a team that wins the ground ball battle,” Van Raaphorst said, “and last week, I didn’t have my best game on the ground. It was a big emphasis for me coming in this week.”

In the third meeting between these ACC foes this season (each won a game in the previous two matchups), Duke struck early.

Sean Lowrie scored twice to cap a 4-0 run at the onset of the game, before Willetts bookended Notre Dame’s ensuing 4-0 spurt that knotted the game at 4 with 12:29 left in the second quarter.

Seeking a spark to halt the Fighting Irish, Blue Devils coach John Danowski turned to Montgomery, a midfielder whose five points lifted Duke over Richmond in the tournament’s first round, 12-11.

He scored with 8:41 left before halftime, retaking the lead for Duke. Two minutes later, Montgomery assisted on a CJ Carpenter goal. Robertson then scored off a feed from Jake Seau for a 7-4 lead. Duke went into halftime ahead 7-5.

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