By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Jordan Wolf is shutting it all down. No cell phone. No tweeting. No texting. No communication with anyone or anything outside the world of lacrosse.
The Duke junior star attack, out of Lower Merion High School, is in an all-business mode this weekend. That means no distractions when it comes to getting Duke into the NCAA Championship game, being held this Memorial Day in the NCAA Final Four at Lincoln Financial Field.
Duke will play Cornell in the first semifinal game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Linc, followed by Syracuse taking on Denver in the nightcap.
For players like Wolf, and his Duke teammates Dan Wigrizer, Tanner Scott, Brian Dailey, Will Haus, Morgan Kirby, Jamie Ikeda, Bill Conners and Henry Lobb, along with Syracuse’s Matt Walters, out of Haverford School, and Cornell’s Mike Bronzino, this weekend is both the largest stage for lacrosse they’ve ever been on and it’s also a homecoming.
Each of those players have their roots in the Philadelphia area.
“It’s an amazing, a dream-come-true really just to be home, but it’s a business trip, so I don’t want to get caught up too much in that,” said Wolf, Duke’s leading scorer with 49 goals and 25 assists (74 points)—his point total easily tops everyone on the Blue Devils (Case Matheis is second with 48 points).”
“I think we’re very confident,” Wolf continued. “I’m a junior and this is my third Final Four. We’re excited to play and it’s definitely a big stage. There’s a bunch of family and friends coming to the game, but I’m trying to stay away from the phone this whole week and focus on the game.”
This Duke team is drastically different from the team that lost to Penn, 14-9, at Franklin Field on February 22 to fall to 2-3. A big reason for the resurgent Blue Devils is the emergence of Wolf, and the steady play of Dailey, Lobb and Scott.
“We kept working, we kept going and our seniors kept driving us to get better,” Wolf said. “We have a lot of Philly guys on this team, so you can say we’re like the home team. But the main focus continues to be getting to the championship game and winning.”
Duke coach John Danowski did a fabulous job in turning the team around—as he’s done many times before.
“We just weren’t playing well in February and March, but we thought we could get better and I look at the Loyola game [the defending national champions] as the turning point, we were facing the possibility of dropping to 2-5,” Danowski said. “That was the jump-off point for us. At this point, if you’re here, you probably have some confidence. Playing in tight games gives you a little of that confidence. I like our seniors, our balance on offense and the possibilities on defense and our athleticism.”
Tickets are still available for the NCAA Final Four and ticket information can be found at PhiladelphiaEagles.com.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.