Amid shadows cast by the setting Durham sun, #2 ranked Duke University faced off against the #3 ranked Maryland Terrapins in the first ACC match-up of the college lacrosse season. The game pitted two very different teams against one another. The Blue Devils, led into battle by their stellar, if controversial, 5th year seniors and known for transition and creative offensive ball movement, faced a unique challenge in Maryland, a team with an over-abundance of youth and a reputation for lockdown defense. As the opening face-off whistle blew, the fans packed into Koskinen Stadium knew they were in for an impressive lacrosse display.
The Blue Devils, clad in imposing black uniforms, took the field in force, and scored the first goal of the night, as Brad Ross released a laser of a shot that snuck past Maryland goalie Jason Carter just over a minute into the first quarter. Maryland, however, would answer at 11:27, as Travis Reed, curling around the crease, snagged a feed from Ryan Young and finished over Dan Loftus' shoulder. Less than a minute later, Max Quinzani charged from behind the cage and shot stick-side low on Carter to put the Blue Devils up 2-1, the first of four unanswered Duke goals in the 1st quarter. The next would be an impressive show of athleticism, as an aggressive outlet pass from Dan Loftus ended with Matt Danowski catching a Zack Greer pass and finishing inches off the crease for a beautiful transition goal. A well-orchestrated Duke ride left the Maryland goalie at midfield, while LSM Parker McKee hustled downfield, finding Greer for an easy shot on an open net. At 5:09 remaining in the quarter, Brad Ross ran through traffic and bounced a shot for his second of the day. Shortly after, a potential Nick O'Hara goal was wiped off the board due to a crease violation. However, at 3:50, another longpole, Freshman Mike Manley, would shine. Barreling down the field, Manley initially shot low. Carter saved this shot, but gave up the rebound, which Manley promptly scooped up and put into the net. Maryland's Jeremy Sieverts would end the Blue Devils streak at 1:54, as he took advantage of a hole in Duke's defense and finding the net between Loftus' legs and finishing the quarter out, with Duke up 6-2.
Four minutes into the second quarter, Ned Crotty, inverted behind the goal, who drove to the cage to net his only goal of the night. Four minutes later, quick ball movement by Duke put the ball in the hands of Max Quinzani, who backed his man in and fired a scorching elevator shot to the top corner. The Duke onslaught continued, as Crotty fed Greer for Duke's 9th goal at 3:38 in the second quarter. Maryland would score their only goal of the quarter with 1:54 remaining in the half. As Travis Reed bulled his way to the goal, Defenseman Mike Manley checked the ball from Reed's stick, only to have the loose ball trickle into the cage amidst the confusion. The first half would come to a close with Duke holding a strong 9-3 lead.
Maryland would kick off the second half with an impressive Jeremy Sieverts goal two minutes in. Duke would answer at 7:45, as Steve Schoeffel, with flags on the ground, snagged a Ned Crotty pass and whizzed it past Maryland Goalie Brian Phipps. A minute later, Brian Phipps would make a nice save, but give up the rebound to Zack Greer, who goosed the ball into the net. At 4:17, Brad Ross tossed a pass from the top corner of the box to a wide-open Matt Danowski, who scored the last goal of the quarter on a breakaway. At the end of third quarter, Duke maintained a dominant 12-4 lead over the Terrapins.
Duke defensive midfielder Michael Ward would draw first blood in the 4th, scooping a groundball on the opening faceoff and unloading a high on-the-run shot just 10 seconds in. Maryland's Travis Reed would get his third goal of the day a minute later, catching a feed from Ryan Young and winging a left-handed side-arm shot past Loftus. Another minute would pass before Duke showed off their transition game, as Mike Manley handed Brad Ross his third goal of the evening. Maryland, trying to claw their way back into the game, would score again a 9:49 off a Max Ritz snipe from the outside. Max Quinzani sealed the deal for Duke at 3:55, snagging a hat-trick of his own. With 41 seconds remaining in the game, the Terrapins brought too little too late, as Scott Tompkins fed Spencer McAllister for the last goal of the game. Final Score: 15-7 Duke.
A big storyline in this game was Duke shutting down the very productive Maryland attack, a trio of freshmen who have created a stir this season. The Blue Devils defense managed to minimize Terrapin offense, even totally shutting down attackman Grant Catalino. Meanwhile, Dan Loftus was stalwart in the cage, making big stops (12 total) and creating transition with crisp and accurate outlet passes. In a post-game interview, Loftus spoke highly of his defense: “The Defense gave me a lot of good shots to see today. Most of their goals were from [outside]…overall, I think the defense did a great job of letting me see some outside shots.”
Another interesting aspect of this game was the lack of assists. Duke is well known for prolific feeding, but today's game saw only six assisted Blue Devil goals. When asked about this, team captain and 2007 Tewaaraton trophy winner Matt Danowski responded, “Well I was just surprised at how Maryland played defense today. They came out and they didn't want to slide…So guys turned the corner from behind the cage, guys hit shots when they were open, and everyone played really well.”
Tonight's game, the biggest Match-up that Duke has faced this season after blowout wins over Bucknell and Vermont, seemed to validate Duke's status as a serious contender this year. A seven goal margin of victory in a game between #2 and #3 ranked teams is rare, and foretells of great things to come. With Virginia squeezing past Syracuse earlier today, and Carolina struggling against Denver last weekend, Duke looks to be in position to dominate the ACC this year. Even the Duke players themselves didn't expect such as wide spread in this game. Said Loftus, “[We didn't expect this]…Anytime the Terps play the Devils, it's a close game.” Danowski echoed these sentiments, “Duke-Maryland game, you always expect a hard-fought ACC battle. But we came out, we played right, and we got up on them early.”
Duke will face Lehigh at home on Tuesday, while Maryland will play in Providence in College Park on Monday.
Photos: Mark Abbott
|Zack Greer||(3, 1)|
|Brad Ross||(3, 1)|
|Ned Crotty||(1, 2)|
|Max Quinzani||(3, 0)|
|Mike Manley||(1, 1)|
|Matt Danowski||(2, 0)|
|Steve Schoeffel||(1, 0)|
|Parker Mckee||(0, 1)|
|Michael Ward||(1, 0)|
|Dan Loftus||12 (0.667)|
|Rob Schroeder||0 (0.000)|