Danowski shines brighter than all

Faceoff

The Kickoff

May 22, 2007|By GARY LAMBRECHT

As if anyone needed to be convinced, Duke senior attackman Matt Danowski proved once again Sunday that he is without peer in Division I men's lacrosse.

Watching Danowski run circles around upset-minded North Carolina in a 19-11 rout in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals was the treat of the day at Navy. I remember at one point, while Danowski was igniting top-seeded Duke's furious comeback from an early 6-1 deficit, looking out at the crowd and thinking, if I didn't have this job and press pass that comes with it, I'd gladly fork over the dough for the ticket and the parking to watch this guy anytime, anywhere.

Danowski and teammate Zack Greer torched the Tar Heels for an astounding 10 points apiece, and Greer is the best finisher in the game, as his seven goals attest. But Danowski, who chipped in four goals and six assists, is a walking lacrosse clinic.

The son of Duke coach John Danowski can shoot it from anywhere, whatever the angle, whatever the distance, with either hand. Runners, fadeaways, wraparounds, behind the back, standing still. He's got the arsenal covered.

But it's his ability to see the field and get open as a passer that truly sets him apart. Danowski simply can't be covered one-on-one. Shut him off as a shooter, and he'll kill you with his feeds. Give him an opening, and he can dodge to get himself open, and the goalie is at his mercy.

And, in a way that reminds me of former Syracuse superstar Mike Powell, Danowski is the hardest-riding attackman in the land. No opposing ball carrier is safe with him in the neighborhood.

Danowski is the best player and the game's hardest-working star. If you're still looking for a reason to pony up at the ticket window at M&T Bank Stadium this weekend, Duke's No. 40 is it.

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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