Duke overpowers Terps

Devils' Danowski matches career high with 6 goals and adds assist

No. 3 Duke 14 No. 5 Maryland 7

March 03, 2007|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- Three games into its season of rebirth, the third-ranked Duke men's lacrosse team is a talented, hungry-looking bunch, starting with outstanding senior attackman Matt Danowski. Just ask the No. 5 Maryland Terrapins.

Last night at Byrd Stadium, before a crowd of 5,283 who came to see Duke's first road game since the Blue Devils' 2006 season was aborted after three players were charged with raping an exotic dancer at a team party, it was all Duke and Danowski.

Danowski matched his career-high with six goals and an added an assist, all in the first three quarters, as Duke took command early and rolled to a 14-7 victory. The Blue Devils improved to 3-0.

On a night when Maryland played the 900th lacrosse game in program history and faced its ACC rival for the 70th time, the Terps experienced a one-sided contest they would just as soon forget.

"Right now, we're not going to beat anybody if we give up 14 goals," said Maryland coach Dave Cottle, whose Terps lost their second straight and fell to 2-2. "Any player that has six goals, and you have seven, there's not a good chance of you winning. [Danowski] was clearly the best player on the field."

Junior attackman Max Ritz led Maryland with two goals. The Terps got just one score from their inexperienced starting midfield, were slowed by numerous turnovers, defensive breakdowns and 7-for-32 shooting, and trailed, 12-5, after three quarters. Fourteen saves by Duke senior goalie Dan Loftus didn't help.

Danowski, a national Player of the Year candidate, had all of the answers.

With superb dodging and pinpoint shooting, he got the best of Maryland senior defenseman and second-team All-American Steve Whittenberg and freshman goalie Brian Phipps (13 saves) from the outset. Danowski scored on fadeaways, runners and set shots, ranging from five to 15 yards. He personally accounted for two-goal runs in each of the first three quarters.

Even when Whittenberg was draped over him, as he was when Danowski scored his first goal from the left wing to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish with 8:56 left in the first quarter, it didn't matter. And when the Terps declined to double-team him, Danowski kept getting warmer.

"That first goal gets you feeling good, gets you involved in the game early, gets your juices flowing a little bit," said Danowski, who made six of 11 shots. "It just happened to be my night."

Maryland senior defensive midfielder Ryan Clarke said, "It just seemed like he was unstoppable, like everything he was shooting was going in. We had pretty good position on him a few times. We knew coming into this game he was the best player in the country and probably has been for two or three years."

With four goals and an assist in the first half, Danowski helped stake Duke to an 8-3 halftime advantage. By that point, Maryland had established no groove on offense. The Terps committed six turnovers on offense in the second quarter, when they barely had the ball.

Twice early in the third quarter, Maryland cut the Duke lead to four goals, but seven more turnovers set them back.

The Blue Devils, after an emotional opening weekend at home that featured victories over Dartmouth and Denver, looked like a team settling into the rhythm of a new season.

"For us, we didn't know what to make of last weekend. On Saturday we played with so much adrenaline. Sunday, we played with no adrenaline," said Duke coach John Danowski, Matt's father.

"We played with more poise [last night]. We didn't rush the ball. We were more organized on the offensive end."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Duke 4 4 4 2 - 14

Maryland 2 1 2 2 - 7

Goals: D-Danowski 6, Fogarty 2, Greer, Ross, Lamade, Payton, O'Hara, Crotty. M-Ritz 2, Groot, Alford, Ward, Dalton, Sear. Assists: D-Greer 3, Danowski, Krom, Ross, Schoeffel. M-Evans, Phipps, Ritz. Saves: D-Loftus 14, Schroeder 0. M-B. Phipps 13.

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