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May 27, 2013
Duke Â– 16
Syracuse Â– 10
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â Well, first we want to congratulate Syracuse University.Â Such a rich tradition and a classy coaching staff and great young men who played really hard.Â You know, we just want to start by saying that.
Nobody scripts being down 4‑0 or 5‑0, and inside I think we were all freaking out.Â But Jake Tripucka's first goal I think allowed everybody to relax a little bit.Â Having Brendan Fowler at the face‑off X certainly doesn't hurt anybody's confidence when he trots out there.Â And at halftime, we basically said that we need to play Duke lacrosse over the next 30 minutes.Â I don't know that we did that in the first 15.Â I think the big stage, the big event got to us a little bit.Â I think guys were a little tight, a little nervous.
But I think at halftime, I think getting back to 6‑5 helped everybody.Â I think we were settled down at halftime, and then just continued to play the game.
Q.Â For Brendan, did you feel like that run you had there, I think it was 13 in a row at one stage, was one of the best grooves that you found yourself in, and being down 5‑0 did you have a sense that just kind of getting one more, one more, one more was going to gradually help you guys get back in it?
BRENDAN FOWLER:Â Yeah, absolutely.Â Obviously winning face‑offs and getting the ball back makes it a lot easier to score goals.Â But early I violated a few times, kind of let it get to my head a little bit.Â Once I cooled down a little and stuck to what I do every day, got into a groove there and just felt pretty good going out there every time.
Q.Â You said no one scripts being down 5‑0.Â What's it like when you're handed a script when you start the season 2‑4 and coming back from that to be in the National Championship game?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â No, nobody envisions that.Â It's about just showing up every day to work and taking each day one day at a time, and I think when you're involved in athletics you learn to live that way, whether it's Tuesdays in the weight room or film days or pregame night‑before meetings.Â You just keep on working and keep on staying on task.
Q.Â Josh, can you talk a bit about how you guys were stopped a little bit in the first quarter but how the offense evolved throughout the game?
JOSH DIONNE:Â Right.Â Well, obviously with such a big stage I think people just want to make plays.Â It's a natural occurrence.Â But I think our coaching staff did a great job at settling us down.Â To reiterate what Coach said, we wanted to play Duke lacrosse, and I think everyone saw that and it was evident when we started doing that.Â When our seniors got patient, we got patient, we went back to our smart spacing.Â I just think that's just the way things were.
Yeah, they stopped us, but I think it was more we were stopping ourselves because we were just trying to make a play instead of playing the way we know how to.
Q.Â What can you say about the play of your goalie Turri?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â Kyle Turri, I guess his final record I think for this year was 14‑1 after he took over from Dan.Â Kyle is a winner.Â He makes plays, intercepts passes, picks up ground balls, has got great touch in the clearing game, and he does more than just stop the ball.Â One of the toughest things to do, I think, in college athletics now is to be a goalie.Â I'm not sure why anybody would want to be a goalie, and I'm sure most parents would agree with me, to put their son in the goal.Â But he is‑‑ he's just a winner and got better as the weekend went on.
Q.Â Brendan, it didn't seem like anything anyone was doing was really going to get to you at the X but Brian Megill won a couple off you.Â What was he doing different?
BRENDAN FOWLER: Â He just was pretty quick to the whistle.Â He's a great player.Â He had pretty quick hands out there, and he just was‑‑ one or two he threw pretty good checks.Â He took the ball away, but he just came out there and was pretty physical at the X.
Q.Â Josh, their goalie made some stops early on you guys and played pretty well, and in the second half it seemed like you solved him.Â Was it just a product of you guys getting better shots or did you locate them differently or try anything different?
JOSH DIONNE:Â It's just smart shooting, and it's muscle memory.Â I think Coach Danowski and Coach Younger Danowski did a great job all season of holding shooting camp and stuff like that.Â I know on my goals I don't even think when I shoot.Â I've done it so many times in practice that it just happens.
Q.Â Brendan, you mentioned the early violations and getting a little bit‑‑ a very minor slow start.Â How did you work your way out of that, and were you thinking what's going on here with a couple of those early miscues and the penalty, as well?
BRENDAN FOWLER:Â Yeah, obviously it's a big stage, I was really excited to go out there.Â I think I just kind of calmed down after a little bit.Â Our wings were phenomenal all day.Â They were helping me kind of do my thing and boxing out.Â I just got caught up the first few and just had to feel out the rest, feel what was going on and felt a lot more calm after that.
Q.Â Josh, you mentioned the shooting camp.Â What exactly was that?Â What did that involve?
JOSH DIONNE:Â Shooting camp?Â It's just getting up a little bit earlier after breakfast and then just going out and doing shooting that we would do‑‑ that we would run in our offense.Â We'd run a couple different sets, and you can't just go out there during the game and just expect to hit shots.Â We've got to practice, and that's what we did.Â We got reps at that, and whatever that may be, whatever setup that may be, we just wanted to go through the motions and just keep doing it and doing it and doing it until, like I said, you don't think about it.
Q.Â Brendan, did your background as a football player and a wrestler, did that help you develop your technique on face‑offs, and with your dad having played football in this city, do you have any connection to this area or memories?
BRENDAN FOWLER:Â First, yeah, I think football and wrestling definitely helped me facing off, obviously very physical.Â I think wrestling a lot equates to the balance you have to have in wrestling, kind of helps with facing off, moving around there, balance.
Philadelphia, yeah, my dad took me a couple times when I was little, but not too much.Â A few memories of visiting Jordan Wolf; that's about it.Â (Laughter.)
Q.Â Brendan and Josh, at what point did you realize you guys were about to win the National Championship?
JOSH DIONNE:Â Probably when the buzzer went and we played 60 minutes, right?Â That's how we do it.
BRENDAN FOWLER:Â Yeah, we were up six goals and I just had to focus in until the buzzer.Â I think when they got that penalty at the end and we were man up with a few seconds left, I kind of let it sink in then, but until then we were just trying to stay focused and finish the game out.
Q.Â Coach, could you talk a little bit about the offense?Â You had five guys with multiple goals.Â Could you talk about what you guys were doing that kind of, I guess, gave it to Syracuse in the game?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â You know, the evolution of any team begins way before this year, and so you had Josh Offit and Dave Lawson and Jake Tripucka, and if you look, the seniors really did a phenomenal job of making plays, and in these games, somebody has got to make a play, and it usually‑‑ if the midfielders can open up some things then you attack and can play well.Â But with the balance we've had all year, again, it's Jordan Wolf's third year, Josh Dionne, second year as a starter.Â Josh played just extra man mostly as a freshman, and then two freshmen who we think the world of in Deemer Class and Myles Jones, have great potential, and Christian Walsh moved from attack, whose our starting attack man, unselfishly moved from attack to midfield to allow Case Matheis to step in.Â Case didn't play in the first four ‑‑ he didn't really step on the field in the first four games.
So now you've got tremendous unselfishness by Christian, and so the balance, and we have some young blood, some veterans, guys who are former attack men, lefties, righties.Â For this particular year it all seemed to fit.Â But also it's the nature of‑‑ Jake and Dave were freshmen and won a championship but didn't play much, were actually short‑stick D‑middies as freshmen.
Offenses evolve over the course of not just a season but over four years.
Q.Â Josh, talk about scoring a hat trick in the title game.
JOSH DIONNE:Â I mean, I just did what I had to do for my teammates.Â I followed the slide, that's what we like to call it, but it was a part of Jake Tripucka and Dave Lawson and Josh Offit dodging hard.Â My job was pretty easy.Â I could just shoot, score and celebrate, but if they didn't dodge like real men, they wouldn't draw anybody.Â I was very fortunate to play with those guys, but it means the world to me.
Q.Â Down 5‑1 did you make any adjustments on defense to slow up Syracuse or was it Brendan started winning face‑offs or what turned things?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â No, defensively we actually tried to slow down a little bit.Â We only gave up two goals in the box of their first six, when they settled in six on six, we call that in the box defense, and we gave up one extra man and we gave up three in transition and early offense, and we thought we were just getting out, we were sliding a little bit too quickly.Â We thought we were going to move toward what we call ghost slide, fake slide, recover and get back, and make them spin the ball.
And we did a much better job after that.Â But in the beginning, we were pretty‑‑ we're pretty athletic defensively and we're a pretty good sliding team, but we were going just a little bit too fast, so we just tried to slow everybody down.Â Yes, we tried to slow the slide to the ball, the initial slide, and then we just missed on the first goal on the wing that they scored, Luke Duprey didn't get down.Â On the second one, the through pass, Henry Lobb was just a hair late, and we thought we were in good position and we understood what they were trying to do, but we just had to slow things down a little bit.
Q.Â I know we've talked a few times about just how early on in the season Brendan was kind of the one consistent thing that you knew you had.Â Not just today but over the course of the year was he the ace in the hole for you guys, the thing you knew you could count on even if you're in a hole, down 5‑0 today, something like that?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â Yeah, I think so.Â I think that we would say every week, maybe this is the week that Brendan doesn't win 65 percent of his face‑offs.Â Maybe this is the week that‑‑ we have to be ready for that, and we still have to be able to compete and figure out how to win if he doesn't.Â But the day almost never came, but we still were preparing for it every week.Â We always say going in what can opponents do.Â They can put a pole out there, they can try to beat him up physically, they can try to force him to win the ball backwards and then get in a 10‑man ride, or they could do something to try to jump start their team.Â But Brendan, it's just an amazing story, the fact that he broke his collarbone last year in this game, I saw the X‑ray, and it was like a clean break.Â Had to rehab all summer, couldn't lift weights, couldn't do anything, got himself ready to get back on the football team like in October, got cleared in October, got a couple of runs in November on special teams.Â He's not even with us in the fall.
And maybe there's something to that, that we don't screw him up.Â (Laughter.)
Q.Â Saturday you guys had the big lead against Cornell and they were able to make a rush and get right back in the game at the end.Â What was different about the way you handled it today?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â Well, last night at our team meeting that we showed two films, we showed the fourth quarter of the Syracuse‑Yale game, we showed the fourth quarter of the Denver‑Syracuse game, and both games Syracuse came from behind in the fourth quarter to win.Â So we were extremely aware of their poise, extremely aware of they've been in those situations the last two weeks.Â And that was the message, was listen, remember, last night, and everybody did.Â And then again, we have Brendan, so that was helpful for sure.
Q.Â Was there any difference for Kyle Turri in the goal from the first quarter to the next three?Â Was there anything you had to tell him, to calm him down after giving up four goals?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â Well, I think that Syracuse just shot the ball well.Â They had a couple looks inside.Â We messed up a couple times on man down.Â They had a dunk on man down.Â No.2 came around, lefty, I believe, and stuck one in the corner.Â I thought Syracuse shot the ball real well.Â They released the ball on those through passes, so the message was defensively we need to have Kyle see the ball better.Â We need to have him see outside angle shots and bad angle shots and we're not helping him defensively.Â It wasn't so much an adjustment for Kyle as it was for the six guys playing in front of him.
Q.Â In terms of defense, can you talk a bit about how you played JoJo Marasco and Derek Maltz, kind of the two stars of the Syracuse team and how you kind of shut them down?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â Well, the day before or two days before against Cornell, against Mock, we tried to not slide from him and just everybody was promoting Batman and Robin, so let's take away Robin a little bit and Batman still was great, so we tried to do that a little bit, and so it was kind of a natural kind of flow that we thought that No.7 was certainly an inside player, and we were going to just make sure we're not going to slide from the inside.
And then Marasco, we were just going to play him heavy to his right hand and be prepared for the roll‑back.Â I thought he put in a highlight shot against Luke Duprey as he was driving up field righty he kind of shot it cross‑handed which is not easy, and he's a great athlete and a great player, but I thought our guys were very disciplined just staying on his right hand and making him be a righty.
Q.Â You and Josh both used the phrase playing Duke lacrosse.Â What's that grown to mean and what do you think it means to your guys?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â I think there's a‑‑ number one, there's a tremendous discipline with which our guys approach the game.Â While we give them a lot of freedom, there's a lot of structure and discipline that nobody sees Monday through Friday or August through April or through May.Â So there's a certain amount of discipline, there's a certain amount of work ethic.Â We really try to be blue‑collar guys, so I don't know any other way.Â But there's this ground ball mentality, the same things that I learned when I was in high school that were important.Â The game hasn't changed to me that much.
And so there's a certain amount of discipline, a certain amount of work ethic, and then the last part is there's a necessary team aspect that it has to be team oriented if you want to play on this weekend, and everything that we do from day one is team oriented.Â It's like having children; you have to‑‑ when they step out of line, you have to let them know.Â But we let them know why.Â And the guys at the end, hey, when you win, they buy in.Â 2‑4, as a coach you're scared stiff that, man, they're not buying in.
But the hope is that it does‑‑ the lessons are learned.
Q.Â Can you take a moment to reflect back in terms of your coaching, is this one of the better jobs you've done at Duke?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â This was a job for the staff and the support staff and the seniors.Â You know, this was‑‑ I will look back at that and say, our kids‑‑ sometimes I wonder if we demand too much of them in the fall, and they're in the weight room four days a week at 7:00 in the morning and they're running four days a week, and I'm always saying to the coaches, you know what, if I'm this, if I'm those guys, I'm not playing, I'm doing something else.
So we demand a lot of them all year‑round.Â But I've been here for seven years.Â Nobody has ever quit.Â Nobody quits the team.Â Nobody transfers.Â 100 percent of the guys graduate.Â They just‑‑ they buy into what's being taught.
So it's really‑‑ it starts early.Â It's Matt, I'm so proud of Matt in that he's picked up the coaching thing, maybe because his grandfather was a coach and his uncle was a coach and he didn't pay attention to me, but Ronnie Caputo, fabulous, Joe Cinosky, first year with us, Maryland kid who‑‑ he's a volunteer and he's in the office every day.
So the commitment by the staff and then certainly by the seniors, and then your seniors have to buy into what it is that you're trying to teach them.
Q.Â If you don't mind me going back a couple years, can you tell us a little bit about the experience and the process of finding Brendan as a freshman and whether you thought a moment like today and the MVP would be possible.
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â I'm going to tell you about recruiting.Â I heard from the grapevine that the Chaminade face‑off guy was coming to Duke.Â So I called Jack Moran.Â I've known Jack since we were in college, and I said, Jack, I heard your face‑off guy applied on his own and got into Duke.Â Is that true?Â This is like May of Brendan's senior year.Â And Jack said, yeah, he hasn't called you yet?Â I said, no, I had no idea.Â I didn't meet Brendan until August of his freshman year.Â We had nothing to do with recruiting Brendan, getting him into the school.Â Everything was on his own.
Those stories don't happen too often, but that's a true story.Â We take no credit for the recruitment of Brendan Fowler.
Q.Â How would you describe this season?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â The wonderful thing about coaching is that every season is different.Â No two seasons are the same.Â No group of young men are the same.Â We replaced two coaches, Chris Gabrielli and John Galloway, who both left and went to Providence, Chris is the head coach, so we have kind of 50‑percent new coaching staff, we've got new freshmen, and every year is just this magical journey and bumps along the way and adversity and some teams can handle it and rise above it and some don't, but the hope is that everybody learns from it.Â It's a great way to make a living, I'll tell you.
Q.Â At what point did you see Syracuse's defensive legs start to go and what did you do to take advantage?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â I thought in the third quarter, we just had the ball so much.Â It's hard to play two games in three days, you're going to wear down, but I didn't think they had as much energy in the middle, late in the third quarter like running out shots, as they did early in the game.Â It's just hard.Â It's hard to play two games in three days, and especially when the ball was just on that one side of the field in that second half.
Q.Â JoJo said he noticed he couldn't get a short stick on him no matter what they tried as far as picks and whatnot.Â Is that something you've done all year, kept a long stick on their best player, or was that something special?
JOHN DANOWSKI:Â You know, the first game of the year we played Denver and Denver played that hybrid pairs offense where they're always picking, it's like an indoor lacrosse offense.Â So for the first two weeks of the season without knowing you're preparing for a championship game, you're preparing for Denver, but we had to really focus on playing picks and either switching where the drop call where we're going to stay on our man, and switch or hedge or jump the pick, and so it's something that from the first day, and a lot of teams do all year.Â So it was just something that thankfully we got good at on the last weekend.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports