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Princeton advances to final by beating Duke

May 24, 1997

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) _ Defending champion Princeton survived a scare from upstart Duke but advanced to the NCAA lacrosse championship game, rallying in the seven minutes for a 10-9 victory Saturday.

On Monday, Princeton (14-0) will attempt to become the first unbeaten champion since North Carolina in 1991. The Tigers, who have won 27 straight since March 1995, will play the winner of Saturday’s semifinal game between Syracuse and Maryland.

John Fay scored three goals for Duke (12-4), playing in the lacrosse Final Four for the first time. The Blue Devils trailed 6-1 with 8:34 elapsed but led 9-7 after three quarters.

That’s when Princeton began its comeback.

Jason Osier, Todd Eichelberger and Chris Massey scored in a 98-second span for a 10-9 lead with 4:50 remaining. The Tigers then held the ball the rest of the way to move into position to become the first repeat national champion since Syracuse won three straight from 1988-90.

The Tigers used goals by Jesse Hubbard, Lorne Smith and Massey to take a 3-0 lead with 9:23 gone. After Fay scored his school-record 51st goal of the season for Duke, Princeton added three goals for a 6-1 advantage.

At that point, the Blue Devils set up a near-inpenetrable wall in front of goaltender Joe Kirmser.

Duke reeled off four straight goals, including two by Fay, to close within 6-5 with 4:30 left in the first half. Scott Diggs tied it with 38 seconds left, convertng a pass from Ted Martell.

Jon Hess scored for Princeton with 43 seconds gone in the third quarter, giving the Tigers a 7-6 lead.

Duke got even with 3:05 left in the period, then took its first lead on a goal by John O’Donnell with 1:53 remaining. A 15-foot shot by Ed Fay made it 9-7.

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