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May 28, 2018

John Dankowski

Justin Guterding

Brad Smith

Boston, Massachusetts

Yale - 13, Duke - 11

THE MODERATOR: We have Duke head coach John Danowski, and the student-athletes are on their way. Coach, an opening statement?

JOHN DANKOWSKI: Congratulations to the Yale Bulldogs. Coach Andy Shay, his staff, the team, fabulous season, and very deserving National Championship.

Q. A guy like Joey Manown stepping up today, two goals one assist. A local guy having a big game here in the national final. What can you say about his growth throughout the season and how much he's going to impact this program going forward?
JOHN DANKOWSKI: You know, I think Joe was disappointed by his reduced playing time this year, certainly today he made a couple of really neat plays for us at times we needed him. He's very emotional and the guys feed off of him. As far as next year's concerned, you know, I'm still trying to get over this one right now, if you don't mind.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes, Brad Smith and Justin Guterding.

Q. Justin and Brad, did the difficulty of playing from behind against that team with the way that they play and the way they tend not to make too many mistakes, what was the challenge in that? Was it just a little too much of a hole for you?
JUSTIN GUTERDING: Yeah, you've got to tip your cap to Yale. They played great, and they came out hot. We came back on our -- we started on our heels. You know, it is tough to play from behind. I'm just proud of every guy on this team, and we gave it everything we could today.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, they were winning face-offs, they had more possessions, and we weren't picking up some of the ground balls that I think we would have liked to pick up. I mean, it's tough to play from behind against anybody. They were smart with the ball, and kind of took the air out of it a little bit. So, yeah, hat's off to them.

Q. Justin, obviously, it's in the moment, but how do you wrap up the career you finished up? A record-breaking sort of career, how do you wrap up your memories of four years at Duke?
JUSTIN GUTERDING: I'd like to say thank you to all my coaches and everyone I played with. It's been an incredible ride. I can't believe it's over, and that's why I'm so upset. Obviously, I'm not happy that we didn't win, but I would have been upset either way because these are some of my best friends. Coach Danowski and Matt, and Coach Caputo and Ned have been like fathers to me. It's going to be so hard to say goodbye to them.

Q. Brad, a lot of -- I know this is a tough game today. Still there is a bright future for Duke lacrosse, stuff that you've built and players like Sean Lowrie, Joey Manown, a lot of younger guys that will step up and take the mantle. With guys like that, what do you think the future holds for Duke and how they can improve the program even more?
BRAD SMITH: I'd say there is a bright future, but I would thank the seniors for that, for getting us back to this weekend. They kind of gave us the blueprint. They showed us all the hard work, dedication that goes into getting to play on the last day. So using what they taught us, leading next year, I mean, the lessons we've learned from the seniors are so valuable.

Then, yeah, bright future, lot of young talent. But it's the hard work that these guys have put in that we need to follow in their footsteps in that sense.

Q. It's been kind of a recurring theme of the tournament. One team jumping out to a big lead early. How concerned were you when you looked up at the board and saw 4-0?
JOHN DANKOWSKI: I was a little bit concerned, but I knew there was a lot of lacrosse left. I thought that if you had said to me that we failed to clear one time. The face-offs went 50-50. We were 3 for 5, one man up. Kind of boxed that last man up a little bit. But if you had said to me that's how the game was going to play out. But I thought that Yale shot the ball particularly well. We didn't shoot the ball as well as we have been in the last couple weeks, and that just may have been the difference is that I thought they picked some corners and had some great individual efforts on their part.

But very proud of our kids. I knew they'd battle back. We've got great character. These are terrific young men to be around. But I knew we'd fight and continue. I really believed that we were going to make it 13-12 and we were going to face-off. Unfortunately, it didn't happen this week, but I think the theme is we're going to be back. When we do, this experience, we'll draw from it.

Q. Just watch you comfort Justin and the incredible four years he's had at Duke, how tough is it for you to have his career end like this? What is the biggest thing that this program is going to miss with him gone?
JOHN DANKOWSKI: Well, I've learned about life that at the end of the day, it's still a game, and this is not going to define any young man who goes to Duke or goes to Yale. They're going to go on in their lives and do some incredible things. They're going to be incredible dads, and they're going to be wonderful fathers and great professionals in their chosen fields.

Right now it hurts, and he's upset. But there will be another young man that will take his place. That's the beauty of what we do. For him, it ends. But the goal was to get here. It was almost that he put the team on his back at times with his work ethic and his drive and his commitment to what was going on. We just fell two goals short at the end.

Q. You mentioned and kind of alluded to it earlier, their precision on offense, just how impressive was that? Was it a situation where even if you were just caught a half a step off that they were taking advantage of it pretty much every time?
JOHN DANKOWSKI: Yeah, it's very difficult playing two games in three days and that's all it takes is a step. I thought that we made a decision to put a pole on Ty, and I think that changed things a little bit for us.

But at the end of the day, we still gave up some uncharacteristic decision making and some -- we took some bad angles and just did some things that we hadn't been doing. Now, again, you've got to tip your cap to your opponent, because they make you on do those things. So not until we look at the film tomorrow morning and grade it will we have a better feel for it.

But I just thought my feel is, without looking at the film, they shot the ball great.

Q. When Justin got here, did you envision he would wind up scoring more goals than anybody in the history of the sport in his career?
JOHN DANKOWSKI: Oh, absolutely not. No, absolutely not. You know, we never -- we recruit young men to be part of a team, and we certainly have no crystal ball on those kind of careers. We're delighted and ecstatic about what he's accomplished, but there was no way we could have predicted that kind of success.

Q. I hope this doesn't sound rude. But Montgomery didn't get a shot today. What was Yale doing to deny him shots?
JOHN DANKOWSKI: I think Nakeie was a freshman today. You know, I think he was just an 18-year-old kid playing lacrosse, and I don't know that it was everything that our opponent did, and that's something that Nakeie's going to draw from. Hopefully he gets another opportunity to be on this stage. But I think it's just that he's 18 years old.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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