One of the biggest rivalries in college athletics spilled into another sport last weekend. Long known for their heated basketball rivalry, Duke and North Carolina played one of the year's most thrilling men's lacrosse games. Duke edged North Carolina 12-11 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament. Duke was able to hold off a late charge from North Carolina in the last seconds of the game. Thousands of people showed up to watch the game, showing that whenever these two schools play, it's an important event. The big crowd also shows that college lacrosse is becoming more and more popular.
The semifinals and finals of the 2009 Lacrosse Championships will be held over the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most exciting weekends in college sports:
Games: Semifinal games will be played on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The finals will be played on Monday.
Teams: Virginia - The No. 1 ranked team in the country, they have won four National Championships (1972, 1999, 2003, 2006). Cornell - The Big Red are ranked 5th in the country. They won the first ever Men's Lacrosse National Championship in 1971 and also won titles in 1976 and 1977.
Duke - The Blue Devils have never won a national championship, but appeared in the finals in 2007 and 2005. They are ranked third in the country. Syracuse The Orange, ranked 2nd in the country, are the most successful team in college lacrosse history. Syracuse has won 10 National Championships, including last season.
Players to Watch:
Danny Glading, Virginia - Glading might be considered the best player in the country. He has scored 30 goals and has 30 assists this year.
Ryan Hurley, Cornell - Cornell has a lot of big scorers, including Hurley. The junior attacker has 41 goals for one of the best offenses in the country.
Ned Crotty, Duke - Crotty is a team captain and is very good at putting his teammates in position to score goals. He leads the Blue Devils with 47 assists in addition to 21 goals.
Stephen Keogh, Syracuse - This sophomore is fitting into the grand tradition of Syracuse lacrosse, scoring 46 goals for the defending champs.
Why it's Important: Although there is a professional lacrosse league, it is not nearly as popular as college lacrosse. Because of this, the most exciting lacrosse games of the year take place during the NCAA Tournament. All of the teams involved have great lacrosse traditions and large followings of faithful fans. During the entire tournament, and especially over the championship weekend, the best players on the best teams are trying for the sport's most important trophy.
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