May 24, 2014

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Postgame Quotes: Duke 15, Denver 12 (NCAA Semifinals)

Quotes transcribed courtesy the NCAA via ASAPSports

Myles Jones and the Blue Devils advanced to Monday's NCAA final with a 15-12 victory over Denver. (Bill Danielewski)

The NCAA transcribed the press conferences following Duke's 15-12 NCAA semifinals victory over Denver in their entirety. We'll have more postgame reaction from that game and the second semifinal between Maryland and Notre Dame later this afternoon.

Duke Comments (from coach John Danowski and players Myles Jones, Kyle Keenan and Jordan Wolf)

Q. Jordan, good effort today, three goals. You were up 6‑4, then you scored those three quick goals to put you up 8‑4. Describe those shots.

JORDAN WOLF: Yeah, I had a little tight stick in the beginning, just a little bit of nerves, and I was fortunate that Myles shanked one off the goalie, and those little plays sometimes can get you going, and I took little advantage of a couple of match‑ups and I tried to let the game come to me as much as possible and just be the best for my team that I could be.

Q. Kyle, we talked this week about next man‑up mentality, filling in for Josh. How do you feel about your performance today, being able to get four goals in such a key situation?

KYLE KEENAN: I think, I don't know, I just was in the right place at the right time. I've got to credit my teammates. I got a bunch of great feeds, and just working with Jordan, Case and Dionne all week on my spacing and just being in the right place at the right time, and I think I was just fortunate enough to be there today.

Q. Kyle, to follow up, it was down to one goal and you got a big one in the slot. Did you get the sense that you needed to score right there to slow them down a little bit and get back a little bit of what you had, and what do you remember about that play?

KYLE KEENAN: Yeah, I just remember I kind of wanted to stop that run. We were just trying to get a good offensive position and I just saw a cut, Case put it right on my stick, and that was that goal.

And then Deemer came in the next time, took the middle of the field and put one in, and we kind of slowed their run down and broke away a little bit at the end.

Q. Can you speak on the play of Kyle Turri down the stretch, how he came in and really shut the door on a surging Denver offense?

MYLES JONES: Kyle Turri is a great player. It's very hard to come off the bench, especially without a warm‑up, and he came in there, commanded the defense, and when we needed big stops to stop their runs, I think he was a leader out there. The defense followed suit, and it was huge for us coming into that fourth quarter, and especially the third quarter when they had runs. We needed the ball to stop their runs, and time and time again, they came up with good stops when we needed them, crucial stops, and I think that was the reason why we got goals that were able to stop their runs.

KYLE KEENAN: Yeah, Kyle came up big, and he's always ready to go off the bench. He's the best teammate anybody could ask for. He's actually my roommate. I don't know, he's just always ready to go, and you can always rely on Kyle to step up big, especially at a moment like that.

JORDAN WOLF: Yeah, I mean, just watching Kyle go in in the middle of the game, all the confidence in the world in that kid. I've been shooting against him for two years. I know what he brings to the table, he's won a National Championship before. He has all the experience in the world and has all the confidence of our team and coaches, so it was no big deal. He did an unbelievable job.

Q. Myles and Kyle, Denver went on a little bit of a run there and then, Myles, you had a goal to kind of stop the initial run, and Kyle, you had a bounce‑back goal to stop what could have been a second run. Can you talk about those two goals and the thought process of the team when Denver went on that run?

MYLES JONES: I mean, the game is full of runs. We had ours in the first going into the game, and we knew they were going to have theirs. It was a matter of how we reacted and responded. I think Coach reiterated this in the locker room. When we needed the goals, we stepped up, and I think our team really needed that. Our defense, sort of let a little pressure off team seeing when we had the ball we were successful and that, no matter what, if they got a stop for us, we were going to get the ball. We were going to do something with it. I think those goals were huge for us. You kind of get down a little bit even though you have the lead when a team starts making runs, but it's just focus and try to put one in to stop the bleeding.

KYLE KEENAN: Yeah, credit to Denver. Didn't matter how big of a lead we got, they didn't stop fighting. But we always kept our composure, and we just had this sense about the team that we were going to push back and make a little run there. We were just very calm, especially on offense, and I think that's why we were able to stop their run.

Q. Myles and Jordan, just talk about the job that Kyle did today and maybe the different presence that he brings at that attack position in place of Josh.

MYLES JONES: Well, I'm not surprised about Kyle's performance. Natural attack man, lefty, so him filling in that spot was just natural for him. It was natural for us. It's very hard to put a short stick on him. He's a great dodger, dodges with his head up and he's a great feeder, so it kind of changes the way our offense is, but it also changes the way defense has to play us.

There was one time out where they tried to sort of slow down our doubles offense and then we just ‑‑ just having Kyle back there kind of confused them, and Kyle is a very vital part to the offense now, and moving from midfield to attack, he just looks like he's been there all season, so that's awesome.

We need him strong for next game, and I know he's going to step up.

JORDAN WOLF: Yeah, not surprised whatsoever. I've been watching Kyle in practice, in games all year, the last two years, and he's having a great, giant year. He's a huge part of our offense. And no one is going to replace Josh Dionne. He's an unbelievable player, and with his loss, there's no one that's going to step in like Josh, but we just encouraged Kyle to be himself all week, and he was. He brings a great repeating aspect to our game. Like Myles said, he's a natural attack man, a natural quarterback‑type attack man, so he brings a left of calmness to our attack, and I'm just so happy for him.

Q.  Jordan, you talked earlier about taking advantage of your match‑ups.  You saw short sticks probably a little more than you were used to.  Is that something that helped you open up the offense a little bit. 

JORDAN WOLF: Yeah, with our offense there's always a lot of movement so you get different match‑ups and I recognized a couple and was able to get a quick step and score. Credit Denver's defense. They're unbelievable. Their poles and their short sticks were great, and they're really well coached, so I was just lucky to be in some good spots.

Q. Kind of two parts here. One, just Keenan obviously comes in and has the sort of game he had. Was that kind of what you were looking for out of him and kind of expecting? And the second part, just two straight weeks where you guys get yourselves in a tight game and it just ‑‑ you get that sense from the outside that it's just a matter of time before there's a couple goals. What's that like as a coach having that explosiveness like that?

JOHN DANOWSKI: Well, I don't feel that way, but they certainly can.

No, I don't think any of us were surprised by Kyle. We've talked about this pretty much ad nauseam, that he's a three‑sport athlete, quarterback in football, basketball player, lacrosse guy. His father is a coach, natural lefty, but he was always like that fourth attack man, seventh middie, didn't get a lot of run his first two years, but this year was healthy and he was banged up a little bit as a sophomore, but healthy and was having a very productive year as a midfielder. But he's really an attack man, and I've never met an attack man who really wants to play midfield. Christian Walsh is another one. If he could trade I'm sure he'd say the same thing. So I don't think any of us were surprised by today. It just wasn't surprising.

Q. What went into the decision to make the change in goal in the early fourth quarter, and then what do you think about the performance Kyle gave you?

JOHN DANOWSKI: Well, certainly the starter kind of lost his fast ball, so bring in the reliever. You know, I don't think there's really too much science to it, but we needed a spark and needed something, and just didn't look like that Luke was getting his hands down quick enough and was getting beat. A lot of ‑‑ I'm going to say the first 10 goals, they probably had eight dunks. They were right inside. They were on the crease. But at some point you make that decision, and we trust ‑‑ the guys just said, they trust Kyle, and we all do. His record last year as a starter was like 14‑1, and so coming into this year, I think he's actually credited with a victory against Denver the first time, although we pulled him after the first quarter. He didn't make a save in the first quarter against Denver. So it's a little bit of somewhat vindication for him.

Q. Did you sense guys were getting a little rattled there maybe defensively early in the fourth quarter, and besides the goalie change, were there things you did to maybe calm the team down a little bit?

JOHN DANOWSKI: No, I thought we got a little bit rattled last week in the second quarter against Hopkins, and we had actually talked about that at length during this past week, thought that ‑‑ I thought defensively we actually played good defense. They made some spectacular plays, good look on man‑up where they throw the ball right on the crease, Berg scores cross‑handed, great shot. That's not Luke's fault. But I thought overall we defended them for long periods and I thought we did a really good job. They've got some just dynamic offensive players.

A couple of fouls that you'd like to have back. Brian Dailey's, Casey Carroll's, even Henry's at the end of the quarter, would have liked to have played less man down, but certainly overall, I can't wait to see the film, but I thought we played good defense.

Q. Heading into Monday, how does the experience of having been there before help you guys?

JOHN DANOWSKI: You know, I'm not sure yet for this team until you talk to them and look at them and listen to them. But I don't think it hurts for sure. I thought the younger guys, Tommy Zenker, I thought was really pretty close to spectacular today as a short‑stick D‑middie. I thought that Jack Bruckner and Chad Cohan for playing in their first big games, acquitted themselves really, really well. That's the thing you worry about in these big venues and the big stadiums that guys will be a little bit star struck, and I thought the younger guys really did a nice job.

Q. John, talk about just after that run gets as close as it can get to you, do you sense in the huddle, is there a presence about this team that it's going to be okay? Are they looking at you like for an answer, or are they just looking like we've done this and we got it? What's that feel you get off of them?

JOHN DANOWSKI: Well, first, they know by now that I have no answers in those situations. (Laughter.)

But I think, again, you're together for ‑‑ this is, what, game No. 19? We play a lot of games, get a lot of experience. You're behind at half, you're ahead at half, you come from behind, you score under leads, sometimes your opponent just beats you, sometimes you allow your opponent to come back. So I think at this point in the year the guys have drawn from all these different experiences, and I do think our senior class in general has provided exceptional leadership from day one, and they have been in these ‑‑ Chris Hipps, I think, has played in something like 78 Division I games, where at some schools that would be like five years, five seasons.

We schedule a lot of games anyway, and making ‑‑ advancing in the tournament, you gather all this experience. Losing to Syracuse probably in some ways has helped us a lot in that we know there's no lead that's safe, and you've got to keep playing for 60 minutes.

Denver comments from coach Bill Tierney and player Jeremy Noble

BILL TIERNEY: First, as I always do in these because they're such amazing, amazing opportunities, I'd like to thank our Lord and his Blessed Mother for this opportunity and for giving us the gift of being able to be at a wonderful event like this, the Ravens, NCAA, we're so thankful for these wonderful, wonderful opportunities, the fans, it was just a great, great day. Unfortunately you lose a game, and as I told my players, you might think that we get tired of making end-of-the-year speeches after a semifinal loss, but I'll never get tired of those because they are -- all they mean is that you've lost a lacrosse game at the end of a wonderful journey, and I'm so, so proud of these guys, especially this guy to my right, and it was a tough, tough game.

Duke is a fabulous team. They did a great job. They beat us on the field, and I thought we showed our courage and our heart. We made that run to get it back to 12-11, and to their credit they went on another run.

Sorry to lose, but we're thrilled to have been in this and thrilled to lose, if we have to lose, to a champion team like Duke.

Q. Jeremy, just the offense probably didn't seem like you got enough opportunities there early on. Would you kind of agree with that, that it was tough to get things going after they started getting things going themselves?

JEREMY NOBLE: Early on, yes, early on for sure but I thought we had our chances throughout the game to win the game. All the credit goes to Duke. Their defense played great. Face-offs they played great. They had a phenomenal game plan and they executed it well. But I thought we had our chances and I thought offensively we had a chance to win the game, hit a few pipes, dropped a couple passes and that was the difference in the game in my opinion. It was a tough one.

Q. Jeremy, when you guys did get on a run and tighten the score, what was maybe happening on the field that suddenly generated more looks or was it more of an energy thing?

JEREMY NOBLE: Just playing our game. That's Denver lacrosse right there in the second half. Every game you can play a full 60 minutes, it's pretty tough to string together a full 60 minutes, but I think that second half you saw us play pretty good lacrosse. It's too bad we couldn't do that in the first half, but that's the way lacrosse games go, and it happens sometimes.

Q. After being in that hole, to get it to 11-10 and 12-11, how were you feeling out there at that point? Seemed like you were in pretty good shape at that stage.

JEREMY NOBLE: We were feeling great. I think we had an opportunity on the back side to tie it there, to make it 11-11 and sometimes you drop a pass. So we had with our chances. There's no regrets, but we definitely had our chances and I'm proud of this team, and I wouldn't want to be on any other team in this world or any other university I would be at.

Q. Jeremy, defensively there are so many threats on their offense: Myles Jones, Deemer Class, Kyle Keenan steps up, Jordan Wolf, Case Matheis. What were you doing to combat all the weapons out there? Were you trying to slide early to a specific guy, get the ball out of their sticks, anything like that?

JEREMY NOBLE: I think we had a couple different looks, but they're a phenomenal offense. They have so many good players on offense that if you try to shut down Jordan Wolf, then someone else is going to go off for four or five. In fact, same thing with as our offense. I can relate to them, because we have so many weapons on our offense, as well so I sort of look at them as us offensively. There's just so many weapons on the field and anyone on any given day can have a great day and they all had a great day offensively, so credit goes to them. They all played well.

Q. After the quarterfinals you were kind of reflecting on the first time you made the Final Four and that experience and now kind of coming back again, it might be kind of hard after the game, but that thought of making the trip again, summing up what's been a really great four years for you.

JEREMY NOBLE: Yeah, it's been such a great four years here as I just got done telling the team after Coach T was speaking in there, that I made so many great relationships at this school, from all the staff to especially the coaches, the friendships and the life lessons that I've learned from them and everyone I've just learned so much by being part of the University of Denver Pioneers. I wouldn't trade this for a National Championship, the experience that I've experienced at the University of Denver, the friendships that I've made. I'm so proud to be a Denver Pioneer and get these friendships and life lessons and just have so much fun in my four years here. It's been such a good time, and I'm so blessed to be a part of this school. It's going to be tough leaving, but I'm going to be a proud fan in the crowd next year.

Q. Talk about the play of Wesley Berg, five goals in the contest. What did you see today?

BILL TIERNEY: It's pretty amazing especially since he was playing with a broken thumb that nobody knew about. Wes is a leader, and he gets in these situations and he cherishes them. There might be other games where I'm sure other coaches said I'm sure he can be shut down. What everybody forgets about Wes is he was a marked man coming into this season, and he's been willing to buy into Matt Brown's system, been willing to be unselfish, been willing to get a lot of hockey assists on the year, but today he knew we needed him, and he stepped up and I couldn't be more proud of him. Wes is a leader. He's going to have to take over Jeremy's role next year as our leader, and I'm sure he'll do a great job.

Q. Can you address the same question that was asked about the diversity of their offense and the number of weapons?

BILL TIERNEY: Yeah, I mean, look, you get to the semifinals, the other team is going to have good players. That's just the way it is. I'm sure if the roles were reversed you'd be talking about Noble, Adamson, Miller, Berg, the whole bit. These teams have good players, and they had some good players. You know, we tried our best. They took advantage. Honestly, we knew they were going to get their goals. I thought the ones that hurt us were the ones in the middle of the field that we kind of in a short week probably didn't do as good a job as we should have to prepare for that full-field action, but when you get back home at 3:00 on Monday morning and have to fly back out on Wednesday evening, there's going to be some things you have to overlook in practice, and one of them is some full-field things. To their credit, you know, Will Haus causes you problems in the middle of the field, and they just do a great job. Everybody has got great players. It's just a matter of trying to limit their looks, make some saves and move on. To their credit, they created more looks and took some great shots.

Q. Bill, can you address, Jeremy was talking about a dropped pass here or there, those mistakes that happen. Against a team like Duke, how much are they magnified when you just lose a good possession, when you know this team is a heartbeat away from getting close to 15, 16, 18, whatever they're going to put up that day? How much are they magnified?

BILL TIERNEY: Yeah, I think in our game you see those things. I was just looking at the stats and you look at two teams playing a big time game like that with a total of six turnovers each, that's unheard of. It makes those couple really, really look huge. You're going to have turnovers in the middle of the field and all that stuff, but each goal when we got back to 12-11, it was either going to be one thing: Our momentum was going to carry us through and get by them, or our effort to get there was going to be far too much for us to sustain and be able to get through. And again, you give them credit. They scored two goals in I think nine seconds or something there to kind of put us back on our heels. 8:44 and 8:49 and then 7:09. That's three goals quick. All those other things kind of get forgotten, even the dropped pass at the end of the it would have been 15-13 and we'd still be sitting here commiserating.

Look, you've got young men. They're 18 to 22, 23 years old. They're trying very hard. This is our 10th trip across the country this year. Everybody else worries about what happens when you play Denver, oh, the air is thin, oh, you've got to travel. Well, that stuff is all nothing. All it is, it's a lacrosse game that's got to be played between two teams. We take great pride in our young men not making excuses. We're not going to make any for losing a game today. We lost to a great team who has a great coaching staff and we're proud of who we are and where we are.

Q. In the third quarter you had a chance to score the tying goal right on the doorstep. It hit the back of the net. Did you sense that once making that comeback that was kind of your last gasp effort?

BILL TIERNEY: No, not at all. Not even close. We didn't have a sense it was our last gasp until I looked up at the clock and saw seven seconds left and down three goals and they had the ball. That probably wrapped it up.

But this group will fight and claw and scratch. You saw last week we scored 10 goals in a row against a very good Drexel team. The week before we hold one of the best teams in the country to five goals and score four and a bunch. No one moment is going to dictate that or define that, no referee call, no missed shot, no missed save. It all comes together, and at the end of the day, Duke was better than us today.

Q. You guys got basically split on face-offs, they didn't score an extra-man goal and I think you got nine of your 12 shots on goal to go in the first three quarters. Did you feel pretty good heading into the last 15 minutes that you guys had done what you needed to do to stick around in this?

BILL TIERNEY: Well, it was -- what was it, 11-9 at the end of three? Yeah, feeling pretty good there. We had a man up going into the fourth, and so that was a great opportunity. I thought we had that run there. They kind of got on their heels. You can usually tell when a defense is on their heels when they foul, just like we were when we fouled a couple of times. You feel good, you kind of -- we were looking uphill at 8-4 at halftime, and we knew it was going to be tough, but these guys just chipped away, and we never felt out of it. We felt like we had made that run, and as I said, you get to one, you're either going to win if you score the next goal or it might be too much having done that.

That's what happened today. I just want everybody to understand that this group of people, this group of young men that comes from 20 different states and two provinces of Canada, let's face it, there aren't many fifth graders playing lacrosse on the East Coast that say I can't wait to go to the University of Denver. There will be. And I'm really excited about those possibilities. We've got an amazing group coming in next year. We're going to lose the heart and soul of our team in Jeremy Noble, but there will be other hearts and other souls. As I said last year, we'll be back, and you guys are going to get tired of us until you see us celebrate for this thing.


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