College Park, MD – Matt Danowski scored six goals in Duke’s easy win over University of Maryland Friday night, adding fuel to the budding rivalry between the two schools. Duke’s win at the opening face-off was a clear sign of things to come as the team went on to dominate the Terps in their 14-7 win. The No. 2 ranked Blue Devils improved to 3-0, thus silencing critics and hecklers who continue to hold up “No means no” signs and shout obscenities from the stands.
“Every game is going to have its own story,” said Duke Coach John Danowski, and many of the elements of Friday night’s game centered on his son, Matt. Even with Maryland marking him with two-time All-American Steve Whittenberg and junior Joe Cinosky, they weren’t able to contain the explosive Danowski. At halftime the scoreboard read 8-3 Duke, but on the stats page it was Danowski 4, Maryland 3.
When asked about his success against the all-American defender, Danowski said “the fact that they weren’t sliding really plays to our advantage because we do a really good job spacing the field. Guys are unselfish, we just want to win. We don’t care who gets the points or who scores the goals. We just want to get out there and play well and win.”
At the other end of the field Maryland’s offense was unable to function against the relentless pressure from Blue Devil defense.
When asked if the offense is still suffering as a result of last year’s graduating class, Maryland junior attackman Max Ritz said that the team “can’t make that excuse any more. We’ve been playing all year so we should be able to function without those guys. I think it’s a matter of getting our stuff down and executing game in and game out and we didn’t do as well as we would like.”
“I think we all do [need to step up], to be honest with you, nobody stood out tonight. Nobody really took care of business. Everybody needs to step up and take things a little more seriously,” said Ritz. “That shouldn’t happen. 14-7. They’re a great team and everything, but I really feel we could have come closer.”
Conversely, Duke’s offense remained composed throughout the entire game, patiently waiting for the most opportune angles to rip shots. And just as Matt Danowski emphasized after the game, the Duke offense is an arsenal of threats to their opponents’ defenses.
“Tonight just happened to be my night,” Danowski said. “When we play offense we play very unselfish, my dad preaches that style. Last week it happened to be Zack’s [Greer] night when he had six and next week it could be someone else.”
Asked about his son’s performance, Coach Danowski reiterated his son’s remarks about their many offensive weapons. “With all our players we trust them and allow them to play. For instance, we were encouraging [senior midfielder] Freddy Krom to go to goal. Whoever it is who has the ball we try to teach them that they have a green light to make a play. Then we teach the other players off the ball how to play with those guys. Tonight Maryland didn’t slide a lot and that’s how they were going to play the game but in the future other teams might slide a lot. And on those nights maybe Matt won’t be the guy, it may be someone else.”
With last year’s drama still fresh in their minds, former teammate David Evans, one of the three accused Duke players, spoke to the team about their upcoming game. “It was really, really motivational [experience],” said Danowski. “He was telling us to take advantage of this, not to come off a shift feeling like you didn’t leave it all out there. He misses being out here so bad – he wants to be out here playing with us more than anything in the world.”
Going into the game Duke was ranked number two in the country while Maryland was ranked number six. Friday night made it clear that the difference between the levels of play of these two teams is much more significant than a mere four numbers.
Tuesday afternoon should present another easy win for the Blue Devils when they face off at home against St. Joseph’s. Then it’s back to testing themselves again as they travel west to take on Loyola at the First Four in San Diego for the second year in a row. Maryland has a week off before they take a short trek up the Beltway and battle neighborhood rival Towson University.
Story by Matt McCarron, photos by Joe Caulfield
|Max Ritz||(2, 1)|
|Thomas Alford||(1, 0)|
|Michael Phipps||(0, 1)|
|Nick Ward||(1, 0)|
|Adam Sear||(1, 0)|
|Dan Groot||(1, 0)|
|Will Dalton||(1, 0)|
|Brian Phipps||13 (0.481)|