DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Zach Howell had four goals and an assist, and defending champion Duke held on to beat Delaware 15-14 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament.

Freshman Jordan Wolf added three goals and two assists for the Blue Devils (13-5), who earned a rematch with Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. Duke beat the Fighting Irish in overtime last year for its first national title.

Duke twice led by six goals and was up 15-10 with 4:50 to play and withstood  Delaware’s frantic comeback. The Blue Hens scored three goals in a 29-second span before Taylor Burns scored his second goal of the day with 20 seconds left to make it a one-goal game.

The Blue Devils never trailed but went 16 1/2 minutes between goals in the second and third quarters while allowing the Blue Hens (11-7) to pull to 9-8.

The start of the fourth quarter was delayed roughly 45 minutes due to rain.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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