Dark clouds hung over Durham as 4,008 lacrosse fans packed into Koskinen Stadium for one of the most storied school rivalries in all of college sports. Ten miles separate the campuses of #1 ranked Duke University and #3 University of North Carolina, and ten goals separated the two teams on the field today, as the Duke Blue Devils continued a streak of dominance, toppling the upstart Tarheels by a shocking score of 19-9. Both teams entered this afternoon’s ACC match-up undefeated, featuring quality wins, powerful offenses, and among the best goalies in college lacrosse.
Duke Attackman Max Quinzani scored a career-high six goals in the match-up, while Zack Greer became the highest-scoring player in Duke history with an impressive 161 goals in 54 games. Despite the disparity in score, the teams were relatively close statistically; Duke took 47 shots in the game, while Carolina took 46. On groundballs, the Blue Devils scooped 44 to the Tarheel’s 40. Carolina, however, managed to dominate on face-offs, winning 21 of 31 draws. With relative parity in other statistical categories, it was goalie play that pushed the game in Duke’s favor. Dan Loftus demonstrated once more that he is one of lacrosse’s best, easily turning away 15 shots and allowing six goals, while backup Rob Schroeder made two quality stops and let three in. For Carolina, Grant Zimmerman, spectacular so far this season, saw too many tough shots, managing 14 saves and allowing 15 goals in three quarters of play; Sophomore Chris Madalon stepped in for the final quarter and mustered one save for the day. Duke also managed to complete a whopping 21 of 22 clears, while UNC only cleared the ball 16 of 22 times.
Just a minute and ten seconds after the opening face-off, Ned Crotty put Duke on the scoreboard, charging in and planting a shot on Zimmerman’s stick side. Two minutes later, Zimmerman made an impressive save and darted out of the crease and upfield. Zack Greer managed to dislodge the ball from the keeper’s crosse and found Max Quinzani for an easy goal on an open net. Carolina would exact revenge at 7:13, however, as Bart Wagner managed to confuse Dan Loftus with a change-up shot that skipped into the bottom corner of the net. Tewaaraton Trophy winner and Duke Prodigy Matt Danowski would be next to strike, catching a feed from Steve Schoeffel, planting his feet and releasing a wicked underhand shot from outside the paint. At the end of the first quarter, Duke held a slight edge over the Tarheels, 3-1.
Forty-eight seconds into the second quarter, Duke would add another tally, as LSM Nick O’Hara came charging upfield with the ball. As O’Hara approached the cage, he wound up for a shot, but lost the ball, which was promptly picked up by defensive midfielder Michael Ward, who fed across the field to Ned Crotty for an outside shot that snuck over Zimmerman’s shoulder. On an Extra Man Opportunity following a push by Ryan McFadyen, Carolina scored for a second time, as Ben Hunt assisted Bart Wagner, who threw a high fake before snapping the ball past Loftus, off-stick side low. At 12:27 Max Quinzani continued his scoring streak, curling around the cage from X, throwing a high fake and rolling inside his defender, putting the ball over Zimmerman’s right shoulder. Quinzani would complete a hat trick less than a minute later, as the dangerous Blue Devil transition game ended with Michael Ward setting up the sophomore Attackman for Duke’s sixth goal. At 9:11 in the second, Ned Crotty would pick up his own hat trick, finishing after a quick clear following a Dan Loftus save. A minute later, Zack Greer would become the highest scoring Blue Devil in history, swatting in a rebound from a Carolina save at 8:12. Greer would tally again on a Duke EMO at 5:11, snagging a Danowksi feed and tricking Zimmerman with the ol’ Dip-n-Dunk, planting the ball stick-side high. At 3:09, Steve Schoeffel scored Duke’s sixth straight goal and tenth of the game, sweeping from up top and shooting on the run. UNC would manage to rally in the final two minutes of the half, scoring two goals in the final 1:39. A hold by Michael Ward at 1:55 gave Carolina a 30 second Extra Man Opportunity. Ben Hunt capitalized on this, catching a Billy Bitter pass and releasing a cannon of a shot. The shot struck Loftus in the facemask and fell into the corner of the goal. Loftus seemed shook up after the blow to the head, and Rob Schroeder was sent into the game. Thirty seconds later, Nick Tintle would score off a feed from Rob Driscoll, sending the Tarheels into the locker room down, 10-4.
The third quarter opened with a flurry of offense from Duke’s high-powered Attack. Seven minutes into the half, Grant Zimmerman made a flurry of saves in tight, but lost control of the rebounds, leading to a massive ground ball scrum behind the net. Zack Greer came out with the ball and quickly fed Max Quinzani, who dove to his knees at the top of the crease, quick-sticking the ball into the twine. Twenty seconds later, Grant Zimmerman made a spectacular save, but his outlet failed to reach its intended target, leading to yet another ground ball scrum, in which Zack Greer took a massive hit. Danowski scrapped through the scuffle, however, picked up the groundball and found Quinzani, who finished his fifth goal of the afternoon. At 5:19 in the half, flags hit the turf and two UNC players were pulled off the field. 18 seconds into the two-man advantage, Danowski forced a hard feed straight through Carolina’s defense to a waiting Zack Greer, who easily put the rubber in the net. Danowski managed to scare all of the Duke fans in Koskinen Stadium a few minutes later, as he could not get up following a big hit. Danowski, who is still recovering from surgery on an injured Lisfranc ligament, limped off the field, but came immediately back on, despite clearly favoring one foot. Duke found themselves up by two men again with a little over two minutes remaining in the quarter. Grant Zimmerman made a save on an outside shot, but once again gave up the rebound, which Zack Greer quickly finished, his fourth goal of the day. A pushing call sent Tony McDevitt to the penalty box with just over a minute to play in the third quarter. Ben Hunt scored for UNC on the ensuing EMO, assisted by Cryder DiPietro with 35 seconds remaining. Danowski was not ready to go into the locker room yet, and with 12 seconds left in the quarter, he found an alley and popped the ball in stick-side high on Zimmerman. As the third quarter closed, Duke maintained a dominant 15-5 lead.
Duke opened up the scoring in the second half, as Carolina goalie Chris Madalon, stepping in for Zimmerman, lost the ball while throwing a fake, giving it to Zack Greer who handed Max Quinzani his career-high sixth goal of the day. A minute later, Zack Greer would score off-stick side low on Madalon, assisted by Matt Danowski. At 9:06, Ben Hunt scored his third of the day for the Tarheels on an EMO. Hunt fired from the outside, and the shot hit the crossbar, but popped right back to Hunt, who had better luck on his second shot. Carolina scored again shortly after, as Billy Bitter fed Michael B. Burns who unleashed a worm-burner that popped up over Loftus’ shoulder for UNC’s seventh goal of the day. With four minutes left in the game, Josh Coveleski scored for Duke off a feed from Sam Solie. Carolina retaliated twenty seconds later with a Matthias McCall goal assisted by Billy Bitter. With two minutes remaining in the game, Lightning flashed across the skies of Durham, and rain began to fall onto the competitors and spectators alike. As thunder boomed, so did Duke midfielder Bo Carrington, scoring an EMO goal fed by Tom Rynn. With a mere eleven seconds remaining, Cryder DiPietro would get the last word for Carolina, beating Schroeder off an assist from Kevin Federico. As the horn blew, Duke left the field victorious 19-9.
The victory for Duke was a major one, cementing the Blue Devils as the top team in the nation. Duke has now faced two Top Ten opponents in Maryland and Carolina and beaten both by massive margins: eight and ten goals respectively. Duke now sits on top of Division I, and is challenged in the ACC only by the Virginia Cavaliers, who are undefeated despite a relatively low margin of victory. But there was more to this game than a simple ACC match-up; Duke and Chapel Hill have been sworn enemies ever since the institutions were founded.
Said goalie Dan Loftus of the rivalry: “It doesn’t matter what sport you play them in…it doesn’t matter if you’re playing checkers, anytime you beat them, if you’re a fan or a player, it’s a great day to be a Duke Blue Devil.”
Photos: Mark Abbott
|Zack Greer||(5, 3)|
|Matt Danowski||(2, 4)|
|Max Quinzani||(6, 0)|
|Ned Crotty||(3, 0)|
|Steve Schoeffel||(1, 1)|
|Michael Ward||(0, 2)|
|Tom Rynn||(0, 1)|
|Sam Solie||(0, 1)|
|Josh Coveleski||(1, 0)|
|Bo Carrington||(1, 0)|
|Dan Loftus||15 (0.714)|
|Rob Schroeder||2 (0.400)|