Two years ago, they formed the most potent two-headed monster in Division I men's lacrosse, and Duke attackmen Zack Greer and Matt Danowski are not letting up.
After Saturday's 11-9 victory at Johns Hopkins - in which Greer leveled the Blue Jays with six goals and Danowski teamed with Greer on all four of his assists - Greer and Danowski reasserted themselves as the game's premier one-two punch.
Greer (50 points) and Danowski (49) are just behind Virginia junior attackman Ben Rubeor, the nation's leader with 54 points.
The closest pairs to No. 4 Duke's combo include Hobart's Jamie Kirk and Daryl Veltman (70 points), Albany's Frank Resetarits and Merrick Thomson (69), UMBC's Drew Westervelt and Cayle Ratcliffe (65), Cornell's Eric Pittard and David Mitchell (59) and Dartmouth's Nick Bonacci and Ari Sussman (56).
Saturday, Hopkins aimed to shut off Danowski, and the Blue Jays were happy the senior Tewaaraton Trophy candidate had just one goal.
But Greer, the junior crease attackman with the nifty field sense that recalls his Canadian box lacrosse roots, kept finding seams inside. And Danowski (25 goals, 24 assists), whose dodging, shooting and passing are equally exceptional, took up the role of accurate feeder.
"The thing about playing with Zack is it's real easy. If his stick is up, I'm going to throw it to him, no matter where he is or where his guy is on him," said Danowski, who scored six goals against Maryland in a 14-7 win in College Park last month. "I just have confidence in him that he's going to catch it and put it in the back of the cage. He's shown he can do it."
"I think playing indoors when I'm at home, it's in small areas, in tight. It gives you a game sense, almost," said Greer, whose 34 goals trail only Rubeor's 37. "You know where the other players are behind you, and you know where to get to before the play happens. The defense can't read that."
With the NCAA Division I, II and III men's lacrosse championships at M&T Bank Stadium a little more than six weeks away, the tournaments' organizers are beginning to whisper the "s" word.
Yes, they are talking about a possible sellout at the home of the Ravens, which seats up to 70,107.
Tournament director Marty Schwartz said advance all-session ticket sales have passed the 34,500 mark. That's about 10,000 ahead of this time a year ago, when a record crowd of 47,062 watched Virginia defeat Massachusetts on Memorial Day in the Division I title game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
A record total of 144,688 witnessed the three-day, five-game event.
"I expected to sell at least 60,000, and I always thought there was a chance we could sell out," Schwartz said. "We've doubled where we were at this point in '04 [the last year the final four was in Baltimore]. We sold 24,000 tickets to Marylanders that year. We've only sold about 10,000 to Marylanders so far."
No. 11 Bucknell (9-2) could pose a real threat to Navy at the upcoming Patriot League tournament (April 27 and 29) in Annapolis, and the Bison can thank a core of local talent for putting them in that position.
Senior attackman-midfielder Brian Gargan (Mount St. Joseph) is back after missing the 2006 season with a knee injury, and has 12 goals and three assists. Freshman attackman Tim Brandau (Owings Mills/McDonogh) is the team's second-leading scorer with 28 points.
Junior Evan Burns (Boys' Latin) is a third-year starter on a defense that is allowing only 5.9 goals per game. And sophomore midfielder Perry Menzies (Hereford) has chipped in 13 goals and scored the game-winner in Saturday's 6-5 win over Army.