COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland played like an inspired lacrosse team yesterday at Byrd Stadium in its home Atlantic Coast Conference opener as it overwhelmed Duke, 13-5.
Playing in cold, wind and a steady rain, the Terrapins had more than the Blue Devils on their minds. They were playing for freshman David Wagner (Severna Park) whose mother, Cheryl, is battling throat cancer. Wagner has taken a leave of absence from the team to be with his mother.
"We're missing one of our pieces and that hurts. I wish he was here but I hope he knows this win is for him and his family," said Maryland senior captain Andrew Combs.
Combs (St. Paul's) led the Terrapins, equaling his career high of five goals. Two of his goals came on man-up opportunities, including the first score of the game as he ripped a shot past Duke goalie Matt Breslin (nine saves).
"We have a group of unselfish people on the team and I'm just lucky enough to be the crease attackman. That's my job -- to put the ball in the goal," Combs said.
After taking that 1-0 lead, the Terps (3-0, 1-0) were hit with an illegal-stick penalty against freshman Dan LaMonica (Boys' Latin), giving the Blue Devils a three-minute man advantage.
But Maryland's defense bullied the Blue Devils' offense as it killed the non-releasable penalty. Weathering that penalty seemed to give Maryland a boost, as it scored the next four goals.
"You would think the illegal-stick penalty would be an offensive momentum generator for Duke," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "But for us it became a reverse momentum builder as it took away their offensive confidence."
Duke (2-1, 0-1) struggled the whole game on man-up chances, converting only one of 16. Maryland's defense was so aggressive that it killed the first 11 penalties before Duke's Greg Patchak (Boys' Latin) scored with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
"Maryland wanted this one more than us," Duke coach Mike Pressler said. "I can't even describe how off we were on the extra-man offense today. Maryland had 16 penalties. They were almost daring us to score man-up."
The loss was Duke's worst to the Terps since March 9, 1984, when the Blue Devils lost, 16-4, in Edell's debut at Maryland. The five goals were also the fewest a Maryland team has allowed an ACC opponent in more than a decade.
Maryland built a 7-1 lead at halftime and added to the margin 14 seconds into the third quarter when senior Chris Malone (Loyola) scored an unassisted goal. Sophomore Mike Mollott got his third goal of the day with 1:27 left in the quarter to give the Terps a commanding 9-2 lead.
The Blue Devils scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 9-4, but would not get closer. Combs got his fourth and fifth goals and LaMonica his third goal to close out the game.
Duke outshot Maryland, 39-29, peppering Terps goalie Pat McGinnis (Loyola) with 17 shots in the fourth quarter alone, but McGinnis was sensational, collecting 19 saves.
Duke 0 1 1 3 -- 5
Maryland 3 4 2 4 -- 13
Goals: D--Keaney 2, Hardaker, Patchak, Brennan. M--Combs 5, Mollot 3, D. LaMonica 3, Malone, Hochstadt. Assists: D--Lieske 3, Patchak. M--Malone 2, D. LaMonica, Mollot, Poole, Healy. Saves: D--Breslin 9. M--McGinnis 19.