The Duke Blue Devils used a six goal 1st quarter and a five goal 4th quarter to top neighboring North Carolina. Matt Danowski was dominant with a two goal-four assist performance for Duke. Zack Greer contributed three goals, while midfielders Bo Carrington and Ned Crotty added two apiece. North Carolina received their offense from Michael Burns and his five goals gave North Carolina life. Burns added the last three goals of the game as UNC made a late comeback.
Durham, NC – Neither of the two ACC rivals wasted any time in getting going as North Carolina traveled the few short miles to Duke’s Koskinen Stadium. On the first possession of the game, midfielder Brad Ross drove down the alley with a righty jump shot. He put the high-to-high shot in at the 13:51 mark of the period giving Duke an early lead. North Carolina would definitively respond and had more than a few wondering if the Blue Devils were in trouble. UNC junior midfielder Nick Tintle did a little rocker dodge to a lefty shot that trickled in 1:20 later. :24 seconds later Bart Wagner found Rob Driscoll and gave North Carolina a quick 2-1 lead, the only one they would see of the day.
Midfielder Shane Walterhoefer was strong facing off all night, going 14 of 26 against a host of Duke players. He won the first three and gave UNC hope early. On the 4th, Duke was desperate to win one and went early, giving UNC the ball. On the ensuing possession, a low rip by Michael Burns stretched the UNC lead to 3-1.
Unfortunately for Tarheel fans, Duke came to life. At 9:04, Zack Greer possessed at X, drove to his rarely used right hand, and made a nice question mark dodge back to his left. He put a low shot in to cut the lead to one. Less than a minute later on a man-up, Danowski found Greer wide open coming across the middle. Greer handled the pass, sent the goalie to his knees with a low fake and slipped it in high to tie the game. The momentum was back in Duke’s hands. Despite winning 7 of 10 first quarter face-offs, North Carolina’s offense rarely saw the ball. Following Greer’s two goals, Danowski would add two unassisted goals 2:01 apart, giving Duke the lead for good. For their 6th goal, goalie Dan Loftus made a save and pushed it forward to transition. Nick O’Hara carried the ball up, found some space in the middle while driving to his left and beat the goalie to send the game into the 2nd quarter, 6-3.
Tintle added another goal for Carolina early into the 2nd. He drove to his right, but brought the stick back to his left and ripped a low shot past Loftus. A couple of minutes later, a failed clear by UNC gave Duke the ball back. Freshman Max Quinzani caught the ball coming down the alley with a one-on-one with his defender. He made an ankle-breaking move as if he was going to run the ball through X, but instead cut back to the middle of the field, leaving his defender waving grasping at air. With a lefty shot Quinzani beat the goalie one-on-one, stretching the lead, 7-4.
North Carolina used a smart timeout with :48 to go, which helped end their scoring drought. Off the timeout, UNC generated a nice shot, but Loftus came up with the save. O’Hara picked up the rebound and started to clear it. Freshman attackman Sam Delaney made an athletic one-handed grab to pick off O’Hara’s pass. He banged it inside to Bart Wagner who quickly dumped it to Michael Burns. Burns added his 2nd of the night just :03 before halftime. The goal gave North Carolina some life heading into the half. While they weren’t having trouble generating looks on offense, they were having trouble getting the ball from Duke and to their offense. Duke absolutely dominated the time of possession in the first half, and for the game as a whole.
To start the second half, North Carolina finally got some possession time. On a long possession, they worked the ball around. It seemed as if it was the first time they had been able to do that in awhile. Freshman Sam Burke drove from up-top all the way to below the goal-line. He looked back to where he came and dumped it back to Bart Wagner. Wagner ripped a righty to the far pipe and cut the lead to 7-6. Unfortunately, it would be a long time before their offense saw the ball again.
Continuing to possess it and slow the game down, Duke worked it around on offense. Finally junior midfielder Bo Carrington dodged to his right and put a bounce shot in to give a 8-6 lead with 4:58 left in the period. Neither team would change that lead before the 4th. North Carolina’s goalie, Grant Zimmerman, added 4 of his 7 saves in the quarter, to give the Tarheels a chance heading into the 4th. Zimmerman also turned away a last second reach-around shot by Danowski.
Duke’s offense came back to life and ran away with the game in the fourth quarter. What was a competitive 8-6 game heading into the fourth, was stretched into a commanding 13-6 Duke lead with 7:39 to play. UNC won the opening face-off and got a good look at the net. Senior defenseman Tony McDevitt made a heads-up hustle play to beat UNC’s Kevin Federico to the sideline on the wide shot. UNC wouldn’t see the ball again for awhile. That change of possession gave Ned Crotty the chance to put in his first goal of the night with 13:28 to go. Shortly after on a man-up, Matt Danowski absolutely fired a pass inside. Everyone in the stadium, except for Zack Greer, thought it went wide. Greer however handled the pass and put a lefty shot in to stretch the lead to 10-6. Again proving that the Danowski-Greer tandem is one of, if not the, most dangerous in the country, as Danowski assisted on two of Greer’s three goals.
Crotty notched his 2nd of the night less than two minutes later. He dodged left, dodged right, and repeated about three times, until finally he got his hands free enough to get a shot off. Zimmerman got a piece of it, but the ball kicked over the goal-line off the bounce. Continuing the scoring, Danowski banged the ball inside to Josh Coveleski on a man-up. This time, Danowski passed it from up-top, forcing Coveleski to catch, turn and shoot. Fittingly, Danowski assisted on their final goal. This time he found Bo Carrington open inside for his 2nd two goal performance of the season. 13-6 Duke with 7:39 left.
UNC showed some life and finally took advantage of the face-off dominance. Following Duke’s 13th, UNC pushed the ball forward until Tintle hit Burns. Burns tucked the stick underneath and buried a shot for UNC’s 7th.
Duke again beat UNC to the end-line on a wide shot. This time UNC made a heads-up play in forcing midfielder Fred Krom out-of-bounds after he picked up the groundball. This led into Bart Wagner finding Michael Burns cutting from up-top. Burns put in his 4th of the night on the quick finish. Burns notched his 5th goal as Ben Hunt forced a pass inside to Burns. With hardly any room to breathe, Burns held onto it and was able to turn and finish. Unfortunately, it was too little too late for North Carolina.
The win sends Duke back to the ACC Championship game to take on Virginia on Sunday. Overall, when they wanted to, Duke’s offense was dominant against North Carolina. North Carolina seemed to be able to do what it wanted on offense as well, but when Duke has possession for upwards of 80% of the time, it’s hard to get much going. Pay attention to North Carolina though, both this year and in the future, as five of their top six scorers are freshmen and sophomores, and their top twelve scorers along with goalie, best longpole and FOGO return next year.
|Matt Danowski||(2, 4)|
|Zack Greer||(3, 0)|
|Bo Carrington||(2, 0)|
|Ned Crotty||(2, 0)|
|Josh Coveleski||(1, 0)|
|Nick O'hara||(1, 0)|
|Max Quinzani||(1, 0)|
|Brad Ross||(1, 0)|
|Dan Loftus||8 (0.471)|