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Blue Devils back on the lacrosse field after months of turmoil

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Playing their first game in eleven months, the Duke lacrosse team opened its 2007 season with a 17-to-11 victory over Dartmouth.

It was a triumphant return for the Blue Devils, whose season was canceled last spring amid the rape allegations against three players.

It was clear that Saturday's event was more than just a game. There was a near-record attendance of more than six thousand and every move on the field was cheered.

Rape charges were dropped against the three in December. But they are still charged with sexually assaulting and kidnapping a stripper, who told police she was raped by three men in a bathroom during a team party last March.

Team members say they focused on their play, but they also honored the three former team members by wearing their numbers during warmups.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)