PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Johns Hopkins won its first NCAA lacrosse title in 18 years, beating Duke 9-8 Monday to complete an undefeated season.

Jake Byrne’s goal with 13:35 left in the fourth quarter was the difference for the Blue Jays (16-0), who became the first men’s team to finish the season undefeated and win the national championship since Princeton (15-0) in 1997. Earlier this month, Northwestern won the women’s lacrosse championship, finishing the season undefeated with a 13-10 victory against Virginia.

Johns Hopkins had appeared in two of the last three men’s title games, but this victory gave the school its first title since it defeated Cornell in 1987. Hopkins has won eight national titles.

“I am so proud of these young men and what they’ve endured and overcome,” said Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, who played on the 1987 team.

“It was a great game. It was two heavyweights swinging.”

This year’s championship game was a rematch of a thriller last month, when Johns Hopkins beat Duke 11-10 in double overtime.

In Monday’s rematch, Kyle Harrison, Kevin Huntley, Greg Peyser and Paul Rabil had two goals each for Johns Hopkins. Matt Danowski, Matt Zash and Dan Flannery led Duke (17-3) with two goals apiece.

“It was worth the wait,” said Harrison, a senior midfielder. “This championship is for the people that were seniors and juniors when our class first got here. This has been in the making for the last four years and it feels great.”

Duke led 3-1 after the first quarter before the teams began trading goals in the second quarter. The Blue Devils took a 7-6 lead at the half on a score from Zash with 1:33 left.

After a goal from Danowski gave Duke an 8-6 lead with 12:43 to go in the third quarter, Rabil and Peyser scored for the Blue Jays to make it 8-all entering the fourth.

The Blue Jays made their 16th appearance in an NCAA championship game, while Duke played in its first.

Johns Hopkins defeated Virginia 9-8 in overtime Saturday to advance to the title game and Duke beat Maryland 18-9.

The 44,920 that watched Monday’s game set a Division I championship game record, breaking the old mark of 43,898 set last year in Baltimore. Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, has a capacity of 68,532.

Duke’s 17 wins this season set a school and NCAA record for victories, and its only losses came against NCAA semifinalists Johns Hopkins and Maryland. The Blue Devils won just five games last season with an inexperienced lineup that matured into this year’s record-breaking team.

“It was a good season, but it’s not satisfying at all,” Danowski said. “It’s not satisfying to get to the national championship and lose. We expected to get here and win. We did pretty well, but not where we wanted to be.”

AP-ES-05-30-05 1625EDT

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