Goal of the Year: Duffy’s crazy goal lands on SportsCenter


Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications

Dylan Hornik, Co-Sports Editor

Colin Duffy swears he meant to do it.

He’s absolutely certain that, with just under 10 minutes to play in St. John’s non-conference lacrosse matchup against Drexel last month, he meant to net a goal that would end up as an early favorite for play of the year in college lacrosse.

Duffy, a sophomore from Pennsylvania, was positioned well when teammate Jackson O’Leary ripped a shot on the run from outside. Drexel goalie Jimmy Joe Granito made a nice save on his knees, but couldn’t control the rebound as the ball bounced away right in front of the crease.

With two defenders on him, Duffy calmly collected the ball and nonchalantly flipped his stick behind his back while barrel-rolling. Much to the disbelief of everyone at DaSilva Memorial Field, including Duffy’s teammates, his split-second display of brilliance turned into a goal that cut the Red Storm’s deficit to two.

“I saw the ball on the ground and I just kind of reacted to it,” Duffy said via phone interview. “I knew I was going to flip it over my back shoulder. I didn’t even see it go in. I didn’t realize I was going to get pushed from the back and stuff like that, but I was definitely trying to [score].”

The team lost 9-7, but Duffy’s goal ended up winning over the lacrosse landscape for the rest of the day. It garnered a lot of attention from major lacrosse outlets on Twitter, including a mention from the ever-popular blog Barstool Sports. Duffy said that his phone flooded with texts, calls, and tweets immediately after the game.

“I had a friend who was on the other team who came up to me and told me it was a sick play,” he said. “After the game, I looked at the St. John’s lacrosse Twitter and it had all the videos of the goals from the game, and I saw it. It looked pretty cool and all my friends were tagging me in it and retweeting it.”

In fact, the play ended up on ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter as part of its “Top 10 Plays” segment, where they count down highlights from a day’s worth of sporting events. Duffy’s exploits reached number two on the countdown, only topped by a spectacular play from Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Duffy said that his brother was the first one to tell him that he made SportsCenter, but didn’t alert him until much later that night. The St. John’s lacrosse Twitter page tweeted out a video of the highlight on television the next morning.

“I got a text from my brother at like 3:30 in the morning and he sent me a video of [the play on TV] and then he said ‘Turn on SportsCenter because it’s coming on,’” he said. “I was pretty pumped…When I first got the text and went downstairs, I was trying to wake up every one of my three roommates.”

Even a little national recognition isn’t enough to turn the lacrosse team’s season around, though. Its only win of the season, a one-goal victory over Siena in early March, is sandwiched between a pair of lengthy losing streaks. The latest one is a five-game drought in which opponents  outscored the Red Storm 65-34. The Red Storm’s last game was a 23-7 loss to No. 17 Yale on April 4.

That game against Drexel may have been Duffy’s finest collegiate performance. He added another goal and two assists to his highlight-reel effort for a team-leading total of four points that afternoon. He’s currently third on the team with 12 points.

Personal accolades aren’t important to Duffy: he said he would rather see the team improve than earn individual honors, but he does think that he can make more spectacular plays in the future. Who knows, he  may end up on SportsCenter again.

“Maybe I’ll make a similar play but maybe it won’t be as cool,” Duffy said. “But I think I can do it again.”