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Duke's Dyson Williams

Weekend One-Liners: Duke's Crazy Mastery of Virginia

April 12, 2024
Brian Logue
Rich Barnes

Since 2005, Duke and Virginia have been two of the preeminent programs in the sport. Virginia has won four national championships in that span and Duke has won three. In the Atlantic Coast Conference, always one of the best in the country, Duke has won or shared six league titles over the last two decades while Virginia has done so four times.

All of which makes this stat perhaps the most confounding in the sport: Virginia has not won a regular season game against Duke since 2004. You read that right, 20 years!

The Cavaliers do have two wins against the Blue Devils during this stretch – an ACC tournament win in 2010 and a double overtime win in the NCAA semifinals in 2019 on their way to that year’s national title.

But in the regular season? Nada.

Duke has hardly run away with things – eight of its wins have come by two goals or less, including twice last year – but the Blue Devils have maintained a crazy mastery in the series that has involved some of the best players in the sport.

You can bet that both sides are very aware of the history, but as Duke coach John Danowski says, “None of those previous games matter” when the opening whistle blows on Sunday.

Here’s our look at some of the top games this weekend. Rankings are per the USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20. A complete schedule of televised and streamed games can be found on our TV Listings page. All times Eastern.

Vermont (4-7, 2-2 America East) at Bryant (7-3, 3-1 America East) – Saturday 12 pm (ESPN+)

Vermont had won 16 straight America East games dating to 2021 before falling to UAlbany on March 23, but now faces a near must-win game as it sits in fifth place in the league, which only invites four teams to the conference tournament.

Michigan (6-5, 1-2 B1G) at No. 7 Penn State (7-3, 1-2 B1G) – Saturday 12 pm (BTN+)

Three weeks ago at this time, Penn State had won seven straight games and Michigan was coming off a big victory over Maryland, but now both enter hungry with two-game losing streaks.

No. 18 Harvard (7-3, 1-2 Ivy) at No. 13 Penn (7-4, 3-1 Ivy) – Saturday 1 pm (ESPN+)

Harvard has proven it can compete with the best teams in the country, but desperately needs a win to keep its Ivy League tournament hopes alive.

No. 12 Syracuse (9-4, 1-1 ACC) at North Carolina (6-5, 0-1 ACC) – Saturday 1 pm (ACCNX)

Syracuse has been stewing for the last 11 days since its wild double overtime loss to Cornell, but will find just as ornery an opponent in a young North Carolina team on a three-game losing streak.

Navy (7-4, 4-1 Patriot League) at No. 11 Army (8-2, 3-2 Patriot League) – Saturday 1 pm (CBS Sports Network)

Rivalry games are usually close and if that’s the case, something has to give; Army and Navy are both 3-0 in one-goal games this season.

No. 5 Georgetown (8-2, 2-0 Big East) at No. 9 Denver (8-2, 2-0 Big East) – Saturday 2 pm (Pioneers All-Access)

The two teams have been on a collision course all season and now Denver’s test has arrived after losing to the Hoyas five times in the last three seasons.

No. 20 Rutgers (7-4, 1-2 B1G) at No. 6 Maryland (7-3, 2-1 B1G) – Saturday 7 pm (Big Ten Network)

Rutgers has scored double digits just once in the last five games, so its defense has to be razor-sharp against a Maryland team that has gone 5-1 in games decided by two goals or less.

No. 1 Notre Dame (7-1) vs. No. 10 Cornell (7-3) – Sunday 12:30 pm (ESPN+)

Long Island fans are in for a treat with the Irish checking in at No. 1 in scoring offense (16.4 goals/game) and Cornell at No. 3 (15.5 goals/game) in this game at LIU as part of Corrigan Sports Enterprises College Lacrosse Live series.

No. 2 Virginia (10-1, 1-0 ACC) at No. 4 Duke (10-3, 0-2 ACC) – Sunday 2 pm (ACC Network)

Forget the series history mentioned above; this is a chance to watch generational offensive players Brennan O’Neill and Connor Shellenberger, shutdown defenders Kenny Brower and Cole Kastner, dynamic finishers Dyson Williams and Payton Cormier and young guns Benn Johnston and McCabe Millon in the same game.

No. 3 Johns Hopkins (8-3, 3-0 B1G) at Ohio State (6-6, 1-2 ACC) – Sunday 7 pm (Big Ten Network)

Hopkins feels like the clear favorite, but Ohio State has won six of the last nine in this series and Hopkins hasn’t won in Columbus since the pre-Big Ten days of 2002 when some freshman named Kyle Harrison scored the first goal of the game.