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Duke Lacrosse Returns to Action

October 08, 2006|From the Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Duke men's lacrosse team is taking another step back from the rape scandal that led to the shutdown of the program last season.

The Blue Devils played in an exhibition lacrosse tournament in Rockville Centre, N.Y., over the weekend. It was the first time the team has participated in an off-campus game since rape allegations against three players led the university to cancel the remainder of the season in April.

Duke begins play in the Long Island Fall Lacrosse Tournament with a two-hour exhibition against Towson, followed by hourlong scrimmages against Hofstra and Division II New York Institute of Technology. The tournament will raise money for charity.

Coach John Danowski, who left Hofstra after 21 seasons to take over in Durham in July, said the players haven't seemed too focused on the significance of representing the university on the field again.

"We're in the middle of midterms, and the guys have been grinding in the classroom," Danowski said Friday. "I've sensed they've been a little distracted by school relative to the event of this weekend.

"I'd like to see what the reaction is going to be at the airport and on the bus. My expectations will be some giddiness and excitement on the bus, which would be normal."

Duke returned to practice on Labor Day, the beginning of a five-week training camp that ends with this weekend's tournament. That workout marked the first time the team had practiced on campus since March 27, the day before the university suspended the team from play in the wake of the rape allegations.

The case began when a woman told police she was raped at a March team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper.

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