Duke busted out of the gate when Matt Zash pulled a clean rake to his left on the opening face, lost the ball on a failure to get it in the box, but recovered on a sloppy clear from Cornell. Duke would start their nation-leading offense in a 2-3-1, Danowski operating from behind. The Devils would reel off several opportunities culminating in a Greer rip high and outside, from a Danowski feed, that resulted in a :30 second EMO, only to lose possession when Cornell beat out a shot to the endline. Once the Big Red settled in their box for the first time they set up in a very wide 2-3-1 and tried to initiate from the top of the box. As they would do all afternoon, Cornell let their middies start the action, and they usually started it as much as ten yards above the restraining line. Cornell's Joe Boulukos drove the left side from up top, found a little room, and then for some reason floated a feed into the crease to no one in particular. Duke's Ed Douglas grabbed it and pushed it to streaking longstick Nick O'Hara for a break advantage, but O'Hara got a little too excited and flubbed the slow break pass to Danowski as he showed on the endline.
Cornell would bring it down again and give Greenhalgh a chance to create from the top of the box, but Duke's David Evans picked Greenhalgh as he curled into the middle on an aggressive drive. Michael Ward legged out the clear for Duke, McMonagle stoned the ensuing shot, and then middie Justin Redd went into a holding pattern at the top of Cornell's box. Cornell was again taking their sweet time with ball up top, usually passing it around in an arc well above any perimeter that could be seen as attempting to attack the goal. Redd would finally take it to the hoop on a shorti from the top, driving hard to his right, getting a step and feeding it underneath to a button hook cutter. Redd would do it twice, once to set up a sharp turn-and-shoot that went high, the next time to feed to no one in the middle.
The scoring finally started when Duke, with just some normal passing from top center to the top righty shooter's spot, saw Peter Lamade rip a sidearm that caught the pipe and popped out into the hole. Zack Greer was in the right place at the right time, and grabbed the floater in stride for a smooth behind the back finish right on the crease. McMonagle was helpless. Cornell was still playing the “deliberate offense” card on the next possession, and was even told to keep it in the box with 5:00 remaining in the first quarter after John Espey held on to the ball for what seemed like a full minute (he would eventually lose possession on a ward call after Duke's shortsticks stayed tough). Cornell got another chance on offense after some middle of the field play, and again started with their middies at the top of the box. But this time Duke countered by sending longstick David Evans, along with pole O'Hara and shorti Ward, to shadow middies Justin Redd, Sean Greenhalgh, and Joe Boulukos at the top of the key.
Duke would regain the ball and work it through to Danowski at X. Cornell's impressive longstick Kyle Georgalas was pressuring Danowski, but after a small loose ball scramble, Georgalas lost his footing as Danowski was moving from left to right behind the cage. Danowski noticed the lag, kicked it up a notch and circled around righty to bury it low and uncontested. 2-0 Duke. Duke would then have their chance to slip on defense, but it worked out much better for the Blue Devils. Brad Ross was on Justin Redd at the top of the box and fell to the turf after a nice little juke from Redd. But Aaron Fenton snapped up the high to high rip and hit Ross (on one of Fenton's many great outlets on the day) , who after regaining his feet was now breaking the other way on a ten yard head start. Ross bumped it to a longstick, who bumped it to Dan Flannery at point, who bumped it to Danowski down low on a standard 4-3 break rotation. Danowski finished with ease to make it 3-0. The first quarter ran out shortly afterwards.
Duke vs. Cornell