DURHAM, N.C. -- Rain poured from the sky above Durham today as #2 ranked Duke University took on #11 Johns Hopkins in a rematch of last years Division I National Championship game. Last Memorial Day, Hopkins bombarded the Blue Devils for a 12-11 title-winning upset. Hopkins took the field today after losing four straight games, and hoped to pick up their first win since March 4th. This would not be the Blue Jay’s lucky day, however, as Duke, led by 7-point performances from Matt Danowski and Zack Greer, dominated the game through four quarters of solid lacrosse, culminating in a decisive 17-6 Blue Devil victory.
Hopkins started the game of with a bang at 12:58 in the first, as senior attackman Kevin Huntley beat his man, twisted around the oncoming slide, and planted a shot stick-side low on Duke keeper Dan Loftus. Duke retaliated at the 7:48 mark when Zack Greer found Matt Danowski at the top of the box. Danowski planted his feet and released an underhand shot that skipped across the slick turf and beat Hopkins goalie Michael Gvozden to put Duke on the scoreboard. On the ensuing faceoff, Duke’s Sam Payton won the draw and rushed into the box, firing a bullet feed to Max Quinzani on the doorstep, who in turn threw a fake and found the twine behind Gvozden. Duke would score a third goal with 4:50 remaining in the quarter. Ned Crotty, working off the invert, curled around the cage and shot low for his first goal of the evening. As the quarter ended, Gvozden effectively stopped any further Duke scoring opportunities with a series of flashy saves. After the first 15 minutes, Duke held on to a 3-1 lead.
A little over a minute into the second quarter, Kevin Huntley drove towards the Duke cage, but was flattened by a trio of Duke defenders, two of which received penalties on the play. The Blue Jays were able to capitalize on the ensuing two-man advantage, with Kevin Huntley feeding Michael Doneger for Hopkins’ second goal of the game. Two minutes later, Ned Crotty gave the crowd Déjŕ vu, scoring his second goal just as he scored his first, driving from behind and tip-toeing the crease to put the Blue Devils up 4-2. JHU would gain some momentum at 9:02, as Austin Walker converted a feed from Brian Christopher via an outside shot that found its way past Loftus, off stick-side low. Meanwhile, Duke LSM Parker McKee was flagged for Unnecessary Roughness, and shortly thereafter Sam Payton was sent to the box for being offsides. 7 seconds into the two-man penalty, Kevin Huntley fed Paul Rabil, whose outside shot tied the game at 4-4. This would be the last goal scored by Johns Hopkins for a whopping sixteen minutes. Parker McKee would start the torrent of unanswered Duke goals mere seconds later. On the faceoff, Michael Ward snagged the groundball and charged downfield before finding McKee, who shot for the meat of the goal, pulling the Blue Devils ahead, 5-4. With 6:52 remaining in the half, Matt Danowski tried to force a feed inside during an Extra-man opportunity. The feed was batted down creating a groundball scrum directly in front of the crease. In the confusion, Max Quinzani was able to bat the ball into the net for an easy garbage goal. A Michael Evans slash put Duke man-up at 2:06, and the Blue Devils quickly cashed in; Matt Danowski fed Brad Ross who ripped a shot from outside the paint. Gvozden appeared to lose his footing in the slippery mud, and the shot sailed in. Ned Crotty netted himself a Hat Trick with 32 seconds remaining in the half, once again charging from X and shooting over Gvozden’s left shoulder. Duke would go into the locker room at halftime with a commanding 8-4 lead.
As the second half began, it became obvious a Johns Hopkins’ comeback was not going to occur. Max Quinzani got his third goal of the day at 8:09 in the 3rd, as Matt Danowski found him lounging on the crease for an easy dip-n-dunk. Matt Danowski continued his feeding frenzy two minutes later, handing Zack Greer his first goal of the evening. Less than a minute later, Greer would grab his second goal, as a groundball pickup and feed by Ned Crotty led to an unsettled situation that allowed the Canadian to do what he does best: put the ball the ball in the net. At 4:03, Mike Catalino would put another Duke tally on the board. As the Blue Devils cleared the ball of their end-line, Sam Solie beat his man at midfield for a classic fast break. Solie found Catalino up top, who released a rocket that found the back of the net. Thirty-seven seconds later, Zack Greer caught a Danowski and shot from in close. The ball bounced in the mud and trickled slowly into the net for an EMO goal. On the ensuing faceoff, Dan Spaulding won the draw for Hopkins and passed to LSM Matt Bocklet whose on-the-run shot beat Dan Loftus for JHU’s first goal in the second half. The next faceoff would also result in a goal; this time Sam Payton won it for the Blue Devils and wasted no time uncorking a high-to-high shot that found the twine behind Gvozden. Payton’s goal ended the quarter, contributing to the impressive 14-5 lead thus amassed by the Blue Devils.
Zack Greer followed his three-goal 3rd quarter performance with an encore; he opened the 4th quarter with a garbage goal off a Gvozden rebound at 12:56. A minute later, Kevin Huntley scored Hopkins’ final goal of the game; the agile attackman went airborne to convert a cross-crease feed from Brian Christopher. The rest of the game could be accurately called the Danowski-to-Greer Show. Danowski fed Greer twice more in the fourth quarter for Duke’s 16th and 17th goals.
Greer and Danowski both finished the game with seven points each. Greer scored six times and assisted once, while Danowski distributed six assists and scored once. Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani each contributed a hat trick in the winning effort. At the defensive end, Dan Loftus stopped nine shots and allowed six, while backup Rob Schroeder picked up a save in the waning minutes of the game. For Hopkins, Kevin Huntley provided the most offense with two goals and two assists. On defense for the Jays, Michael Gvozden made eight saves and allowed sixteen goals; Trey Sheain allowed one goal while Gvozden was serving a slashing penalty. Duke won 15 of 25 faceoffs, Scooped 40 groundballs to Hopkins’ 38 and out shot the Blue Jays 39-31.
Hopkins Coach Dave Pietramala said of Duke after the game, “They score goals in so many different ways. [If] we make a bad decision on a clear, we don’t pick up a loose ball, we turn the ball over on a bad shot, this is a team where every mistake you make is magnified, and we just fell into line with a lot of other teams they’ve handled. They handled us tonight.”
Goalie Dan Loftus attributed the win to preparation and a defensive effort, “We won this game during the week; It’s such an incredible feeling, obviously, to beat these guys….We approached it as just another game, but we obviously have a chip on our shoulder from losing [to Hopkins] in the National Championship game two out of the last three years…But Coach kept us on an even keel and we were able to approach it as just another game…..Sam Payton and Mike Ward did a phenomenal job today. Sam Payton, working the [face-off] X with [Terrence] Molinari….those guys did a great job today covering some of the best middies in the country, and I give them all of the credit.”
Duke now looks to continue their streak of victory as they go on the road, with away games against Virginia and Army in the coming weeks. Hopkins, loking to end the longest losing streak in school history, returns to Homewood Field next weekend to take on a tough Maryland team.
Photos: Mark Abbott
|Zack Greer||(6, 1)|
|Matt Danowski||(1, 6)|
|Ned Crotty||(3, 1)|
|Max Quinzani||(3, 0)|
|Sam Payton||(1, 1)|
|Sam Solie||(0, 1)|
|Mike Catalino||(1, 0)|
|Parker Mckee||(1, 0)|
|Brad Ross||(1, 0)|
|Dan Loftus||9 (0.600)|
|Rob Schroeder||1 (1.000)|