Duke vs. Holy Cross
March 3, 2009
The Game Story:
DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University junior Max Quinzani registered a season-high six goals to lead the Blue Devils to a 16-7 win over visiting Holy Cross in non-conference men’s lacrosse action this afternoon. The Blue Devils had 10 different players score at least one point, with five posting multiple point efforts.

“Max [Quinzani] has crossed the line,” head coach John Danowski said. “He is making this his team. He’s really becoming a leader, being very outspoken at halftime and in huddles and that’s been really great to see. Ned [Crotty] has great eyes and great feet and he’s going to continue to get better.”

Duke (3-2, 0-1 ACC) stopped its two-game skid with the victory, while the 16 goals are the most for the Blue Devils this season. Holy Cross falls to 0-3 on the year. Duke’s Tucker Virtue and Stephen Coyle tallied their first career goals for the Blue Devils in the win.

“It started with Sam Payton picking up all those ground balls, winning all of those faceoffs,” Quinzani said. “We were just scrapping and having fun again. After we scored we cheered for each other. It’s good to be back in the swing of things.”

Senior Ned Crotty added two goals and four assists for six points, while classmate Mike Catalino matched his career highs with two scores and three points overall. Payton was outstanding at the X, winning a career-best 17-of-20 restarts and picking up 12 ground balls.

The Blue Devils controlled the pace of the game throughout the 60 minutes, outshooting the Crusaders 62-28 for the game, including 21-6 in the first quarter.

“I think we did a better job of possessing the ball,” Crotty said. “We took smarter shots. Our shot percentage wasn’t what we wanted, but we’re happy with the amount of shots we got. Out defense played really well and [Sam] Payton played really well at the X and got us the ball.”

Duke won the game’s opening faceoff and set the tone right away, getting a few early looks at the cage. Quinzani started the scoring at the 12:09 mark when he came around the right side of the cage and dumped a wraparound shot past Jimmy Harrison for the 1-0 lead.

“Something that we’ve been working on is possessing the ball, getting everybody organized, getting everybody on the same page and then attacking the cage together as a team,” head coach John Danowski said. “Understanding what each of us is trying to do and play off one another. It’s kind of similar to Duke’s offense in basketball. It’s like motion offense and you have to learn to play off of each other and there are a lot of new people at new positions, it’s going to take a little time.”

Quinzani added another score 20 seconds later before Holy Cross got on the board with a Chris Smirti tally at the 8:11 mark. Duke added three more in the period for a 5-2 advantage after 15 minutes of action, with Quinzani scoring the team’s first three goals.

The Blue Devils’ defense came up big in the second quarter, holding the Crusaders off the score board. It marks the fourth time this season, Duke has held a team scoreless in a quarter. Duke added a pair of scores from sophomore Justin Turri and Quinzani to head to the locker room with a 7-2 lead.

Holy Cross came out of the break and battled Duke to an even third quarter as it appeared to gain some momentum. The Crusaders scored first in the third frame to make it 7-3, but Duke responded with two unanswered to take its largest lead of the contest at 9-3. Smirti got on the board again with 9:01 left to play in the stanza to push Holy Cross to the fourth quarter trailing by five.

Duke was a picture of efficiency in the fourth quarter, scoring seven times on 14 shots. The Blue Devils wasted little time in pulling away as they got four goals from four different players in the opening 4:22 to stretch the lead to 13-4.

Holy Cross would score again, but the Duke proved to be too much to handle as it cruised to the nine-point win. Duke’s seven goals in the fourth quarter are a season-high for the Blue Devils this year.

Winning the ground ball battle 44-27, Duke went 23-of-27 overall in faceoffs and was 1-of-2 on extra-man opportunities. The Blue Devils were not penalized in the game.

In goal, senior Rob Schroeder make four stops in 57 minutes of action, while Devon Sherwood made one save in the final three minutes. Holy Cross’s Harrison had 14 saves and Connor Sweeney made one in nine minutes in the cage.

The Blue Devils resume their home schedule on March 6 and March 7, hosting No. 15
Loyola and Yale, respectively.