Four players at Duke take extra year

Four Duke men's lacrosse players, including 2007 national Player of the Year Matt Danowski, will return for a fifth season granted by the NCAA to restore a year lost amid rape allegations that led to false charges against three former teammates.

Goaltender Dan Loftus, defensemen Tony McDevitt and Nick O'Hara will join Danowski in returning to Durham for the 2008 season, team spokesman Art Chase said yesterday. The players are required to pursue graduate-level course work to be eligible for the fifth year.

A fifth Duke player, midfielder Peter Lamade of Chevy Chase, has enrolled for an extra season at Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia, school spokesman Michael Colley said.

In May, the NCAA granted Duke's request for the extra year for its players who were not seniors during the 2006 season.

In 2006, the Blue Devils played eight games before the university canceled what was left of the schedule as police investigated allegations that a woman was raped at a party where she was hired as a stripper.

Players David Evans of Bethesda, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were later indicted, but the accusations were eventually dropped by North Carolina's top prosecutor.

Seligmann and Finnerty were suspended from Duke as sophomores after the allegations emerged - Evans graduated the day before he was indicted - but they were invited back once it became clear the case against them had no merit.

Neither player took Duke up on its offer. Seligmann said in late May he would attend Brown, and Finnerty said last month he would attend Loyola.

Danowski had a nation's-best 96 points (44 goals, 52 assists) and won the Tewaaraton Trophy as the country's top men's lacrosse player as Duke went 17-3 last season, losing to Johns Hopkins in the NCAA title game.

Loftus started in goal every game, and O'Hara played in all 20. McDevitt started 16 games after missing four with a knee injury.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun