- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

PHILADELPHIA — Duke’s sizzling offense has grabbed plenty of attention this spring, but fifth-year senior goalie Aaron Fenton is arguably the Blue Devils’ most consistent contributor.

“He’s such an even keel kind of guy, and his personality and his play kind of mirror each other,” Duke coach Mike Pressler said. “[When he makes] a big save, he doesn’t get too excited. When one goes in, he doesn’t get too down.”

Not too many have made it past Fenton, who was named a first-team All-American on Saturday. The Philadelphia native boasts a 6.62 goals-against average and a .638 save percentage as the second-seeded Blue Devils (17-2) prepare to face top-seeded Johns Hopkins (15-0) in the NCAA Division I final today at Lincoln Financial Field.

Fenton played only 15 minutes in his first three seasons at Duke, taking a redshirt one year before taking over as the starter last spring. The Blue Devils went 5-8, but Fenton was solid most days and saved more than 57 percent of the shots on goal.

Duke’s young close defense stumbled at times last year but has matured since, and Fenton has thrived as much as anyone because of it.

“Confidence is a big part of that,” Fenton said. ” It comes from the rest of the team, especially the defense in front of me. If I have confidence in them, I’m going to have a lot more confidence in myself, and that produces more saves and that helps us out there.”

Fenton’s contributions aren’t limited to the crease. His clearing skills have bolstered the Blue Devils’ transition game, adding greater danger to a potent offense.

“He ignites our offense coming out of the defensive end,” Pressler said. “He takes one off the board by making a save, and then he triggers one going the other way.”

Underdog Jays?

Some of the buzz yesterday morning was that Duke was the favorite for today’s final after its 18-9 walloping of Maryland was followed by Hopkins’ 9-8 overtime defeat of Virginia.

That ignores the Blue Jays’ perfect season to date and Hopkins’ 11-10 regular-season victory over Duke.

“I almost feel like everyone is looking at us and saying, ‘How are you going to win this game?’” Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. “It’s amazing to me, but we’re pretty fine with that role.”

Salisbury, NYIT win titles

Chris Phillips scored with 5.6 seconds remaining to lift Salisbury past Middlebury 11-10 in the Division III final. The Sea Gulls (20-0) won their NCAA-record 49th straight game and their third consecutive championship.

In the Division II final, Joe Gabrysiak scored with 2:04 left in overtime to send New York Tech past Limestone 14-13.

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