March 26, 2016
Duke players swarm senior attackman Chad Cohan after his game-winning goal in overtime gave the Blue Devils a 16-15 victory over Syracuse at Koskinen Stadium. (Peyton Williams)
Duke players swarm senior attackman Chad Cohan after his game-winning goal in overtime gave the Blue Devils a 16-15 victory over Syracuse at Koskinen Stadium. (Peyton Williams)

Class Scores Seven in Duke's OT Win over Syracuse

by Henry Gargan | | Twitter | Box Score

DURHAM, N.C. — Before Duke's 16-15 overtime win against Syracuse, every player limbering up on the field — Blue Devils and Orange alike — wore a No. 10 warmup jersey. That was to honor Jimmy Regan, the former Duke midfielder and U.S. Army Ranger who was killed in combat in 2007, as part of Military Appreciation Day at Koskinen Stadium.

As the starters took the field, only one player's game jersey was unchanged from warmups — Deemer Class' own No. 10.

Class, a senior midfielder and two-time All-American, scored a career-high seven goals to lead the No. 9 Blue Devils to a 16-15 overtime victory over No. 6 Syracuse. His previous career high, six, also came against the Orange in 2014.

"That meant a lot to our guys," Class said of the Duke game jerseys, which also bore Regan's name. "Getting to go out and get a win as a team and do well personally, I couldn't ask for anything more."

Chad Cohan scored the game-winner in overtime, switching hands twice and splitting two Orange defenders for the close-range finish after Jack Bruckner found him open near the crease. Duke (7-4, 1-0 ACC), coming off of an upset loss Tuesday to Air Force, trailed by five at halftime and was down 14-10 going into the fourth quarter.

Senior midfielder Deemer Class scored seven goals, topping his career high of six, also against Syracuse in 2014. (Peyton Williams)

But Duke made a ferocious 5-0 fourth-quarter run in which its defense held Syracuse scoreless for 14 minutes after it had conceded 11 first-half goals. The Blue Devils overcame a poor shooting performance from All-American midfielder and Tewaaraton candidate Myles Jones, who connected on just two of his 13 shots. Almost all of his misses reflected a penchant for the lower corner, and almost all of his attempts on that target bounced harmlessly in front of the goal and past it. Jones said his insistence on taking those shots was, at least in part, responsible for the kind of open shot Cohan had to win the game.

"If the defense sees me shooting, they slide, and I throw the ball to other guys who get opportunities on the crease," Jones said. "Coach would probably have wanted me to take two or three more shots that I didn't."

The Orange (5-2, 1-1) suffered their second straight overtime loss after squandering a lead last week at Johns Hopkins. Syracuse scampered out to a 4-1 first-quarter lead and entered halftime leading 11-6. Duke's possession struggles, in concert with a pressing Syracuse defense that forced Blue Devils to take and miss long-range shots, allowed the visitors to keep them at arm's length.

But in the fourth quarter, Duke began to advance the ball more confidently out of the faceoff, which allowed for a few quick goals against an unsettled defense. Duke also managed to create the type of outside-in movement against Syracuse's press it hadn't managed earlier in the game.

"There was one where I back-doored because they were pressing out so much," Cohan said. "The last goal, Jack Bruckner found the middle, and I was fortunate enough to be the guy on the receiving end."

Duke ended the game with a 19-15 faceoff edge, all of which was built in the final quarter and overtime — the teams were even at 13 faceoff wins apiece at the end of the third quarter. Blue Devils' faceoff specialst Kyle Rowe finished 18-for-32 against Syracuse All-American Ben Williams. Duke frequently sent two long poles to play the wings on faceoffs during the second half.

"We've got to learn to play like that," Syracuse coach John Dasko said of his team's response to the Blue Devils' late surge at the faceoff X. "We've been fortunate that we've been winning faceoffs and we've been able to keep pressure on the other team's defense, but we have to learn to play when the other team is winning the faceoffs."

It was one of Class' seven goals, fittingly, that gave Duke its first lead of the game, 15-14, with 6:28 left in the fourth quarter. On his second chance of the possession, Class, who enjoys shooting from the right elbow, side-armed a shot from that spot to complete the comeback.

The Orange's Derek Dejoe would force overtime on a strike assisted by Sergio Salcido, but Duke would deny Syracuse's attempt to take the lead on its final possession, which ended with an errant pass out of bounds at the end of regulation.

Syracuse's Tim Barber matched his career-high goal total with a first-half hat trick. Salcido, a former practice squad player, led the Orange with four goals and two assists. Duke held the team's leading scorer, Dylan Donahue, to just two goals.

Class and Jones said the team took advantage of the emotional lift of playing in honor of Regan.

"Going into this game, we said to each other, let's just go all in — truly all in, really sell out for each other," Class said. "That made the difference. We had been working hard all year, but there's definitely something missing at times."

Whatever was missing from Duke's overtime loss earlier in the week to Air Force was certainly present in its handling of the overtime period.

"I said to the guys [after the loss to Air Force], 'Do you believe in karma?'" Blue Devils coach John Danowski said. "This is a lesson we need to learn, and if we're not going to learn, we won't grow. But I think we did a good job of being more relaxed this time in overtime."

Photo Gallery: Syracuse at Duke (NCAA Men)

Deemer Class scored seven goals and Chad Cohan scored the game-winner in OT to lift Duke to a 16-15 comeback win over Syracuse on Military Appreciation Day. Photos by Peyton Williams

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