Here are a few tidbits from top-seeded and reigning national champion Duke’s news conference at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday morning.
-- Coach John Danowski announced that sophomore Luke Aaron would make his 18th start of the season against sixth-seeded Notre Dame (12-5) in Monday’s title game. Although Aaron surrendered 10 goals and made just three saves in the Blue Devils’ 15-12 win against fifth-seeded Denver in Saturday’s semifinal before getting pulled for junior Kyle Turri (two goals allowed and four stops), Danowski expressed his confidence in Aaron.
“Luke is the starter,” Danowski said. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, or something like that, and we’re going to stay with that. … In the heat of the battle, it was, ‘All right, let’s make a change.’ But we’re very comfortable making a change. It’s not like we think that it’s going to be a downgrade. It’s going to be equal or better.”
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-- Danowski said senior defenseman Henry Lobb would draw the unenviable task of marking Fighting Irish sophomore attackman Matt Kavanagh, who has 15 points (10 goals and five assists) in three NCAA tournament games. Lobb, who has recorded 25 ground balls and six turnovers, shut out Kavanagh in Duke’s 15-7 rout of Notre Dame on April 5.
“Henry Lobb, who will probably get the assignment to cover him, covered him in South Bend in April, so that wouldn’t change,” Danowski said. “So he’s got a little bit of familiarity. But [Kavanagh has] had a great day against us in the past. He lit us up last year during the regular season, and so we’re very familiar with playing against him.”
-- Senior long-stick midfielder Luke Duprey was supposed to miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious knee injury in the team’s 17-15 win over Virginia on April 11. But Duprey played a few minutes in Saturday’s semifinal, and sophomore midfielder Myles Jones said he knew Duprey -- who still is tied with senior defenseman Casey Carroll for the team lead in caused turnovers with 22 -- was ready to return.
“I remember the day after he got hurt, he said he was going to play in the Final Four if we got there, and there he was making plays at the defensive end,” Jones said. “I actually raced him in practice -- restraining line to restraining line -- and beat him by about three steps.
"That’s Luke for you. That kid, he just wants to play. He wants to be there for the team. He’s a captain. He has great pride, and I’m happy for him that he’s on the field making plays for us.”