Men’s Lacrosse Opens 2014 Season against Defending National Champs
Conor Igoe
Conor Igoe

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the second year in a row, the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team will kick off the season in Durham, N.C., where the Dolphins will meet the defending national champion Duke Blue Devils on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium. ESPN3 will have live coverage of the game with Art Chase and Ryan Craig on the call.

Coming off a season in which they set a new program standard with eight victories, the Jacksonville Dolphins enter the Atlantic Sun with high expectations. Pete DeLuca comes in as the A-Sun’s Preseason Defender of the Year and is one of six team members to garner Preseason All-Atlantic Sun recognition. Joining him on that list is defender Austin Curtis, attacker Ari Waffle and middies Tyler Black, David Goldman and Conor Igoe. Additionally, Head Coach Guy Van Arsdale will be mixing in 16 newcomers to his core group of returners, with some expected to make an immediate impact. Rob Moore – a former Dolphin who makes a return to JU this season – and his brother, Tom, a transfer from Denver University, are among that group.

Duke comes into the season ranked No. 3 in the USILA Preseason Poll after a shocking run through last season’s NCAA Tournament to win the program’s second national title. The Blue Devils began the season 2-4 before winning 14 of their last 15 games, including consecutive one-goal victories in the NCAA first round and quarterfinals over Loyola (MD) and Notre Dame. They then held on for a 16-14 victory over Cornell in the semifinals, and roared past Syracuse for a 16-10 victory in the championship game. Duke’s attacking trio which includes Josh Dionne, Case Matheis and Jordan Wolf is listed as the No. 2 attack unit in the country. The group amassed 187 points from 130 goals and 57 assists in 2013. Kyle Turri returns in the net for the Blue Devils after posting a record of 14-1 last season with a 9.59 goals against average.

Since the founding of the Jacksonville program for the 2010 season, the Dolphins and Blue Devils have played every year with Duke holding a 4-0 lead in the series. The closest matchup came in 2011 in the only game played at D.B. Milne Field, where Duke came away with a 10-6 victory. Last season the Blue Devils raced out to a 14-5 lead at halftime and came away with a 21-9 win in JU’s season opener. Goldman, Waffle, Rob Wertz and Brian Kensil all had goals in the game for the Dolphins.

Next week will see Jacksonville returning to the River City to face Notre Dame at EverBank Field in the first matchup of the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic. The contest is scheduled for Feb. 16 at 7 p.m., with Ohio State and UMass to follow.

Tickets for the Moe’s Southwest Grill Lacrosse Classic are available now on or at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Box Office. Tickets can be purchased in person at the arena or by calling (904) 630-3900.