As far as Loyola coach Charley Toomey was concerned, there is no question as to which team deserves the No. 1 national ranking in lacrosse.
No. 2 Duke had just dismantled No. 13 Loyola, 21-8, on the Greyhounds' home turf. And the Blue Devils did it every way possible, with a flair that hasn't been seen since the days of the Gait brothers in the late 1980s at Syracuse.
"They looked awfully good," said Toomey, repeatedly shaking his head in disbelief. "I don't know who is better at this point of the season."
Toomey won't get many arguments. All the other powers such as Syracuse, Virginia and Maryland have been up and down, and the current No. 1, Johns Hopkins, the defending national champion, suffered its first loss of the season, 8-7, in overtime to Hofstra yesterday.
The Blue Devils (5-0) almost certainly will move into the No. 1 position this week in several of the national polls, but coach John Danowski said that won't affect his team.
"This particular group of kids has been through so much - good, bad, crazy - that won't faze them," Danowski said. "They'll just move on and get ready for the next one."
Duke, with several fifth-year stars in the lineup, looked like a machine. While most teams are still searching to find chemistry, the Blue Devils look a lot like the team that went to the championship game last season before losing to Hopkins.
The Blue Devils ran the fast break to perfection. They made unbelievable passes to the crease for goals as Greyhounds defensemen stood by and watched with amazement. For almost each Loyola turnover, Duke capitalized with a goal.
"Sometimes we got in our first and second slides, but we couldn't get the third one in," Loyola defender P.T. Ricci said. "For us to get to the playoffs, and to make a run, we have to get where Duke is today."
It's going to be hard because Duke has so much talent and can hurt teams in so many ways. As expected, the Blue Devils' attack tandem of seniors Matt Danowski (two goals, four assists) and Zack Greer (4, 4) was unstoppable.
Sophomore attackman Matt Quinzani scored five goals, and senior midfielder Brad Ross added three.
Loyola (2-2) trailed only 4-1 after the first quarter, but Duke started to take control of the game early in the second when the Blue Devils scored four of the first five goals for an 8-2 lead with 10:20 left in the half.
The game became a rout in the third quarter as Duke scored the first three goals for a 14-4 lead with 10:31 left in the period.
"I told our kids after the game that we have to practice a lot better to play a team of this caliber," Toomey said.
Duke 4 7 6 4 - 21
Loyola 1 3 2 2 - 8
Goals: D-Quinzani 5, Greer 4, Ross 3, Coveleski 2, Danowski 2, Schoeffel 2, Carrington, Crotty, McDevitt; L-Richards 2, Daly, Finnerty, Koppens, Lusby, MacDonald, Wilcox. Assists: D-Danowski 4, Greer 4, Catalino, C. Loftus, O'Hara, Quinzani, Schoeffel, Solie; L-Basler, Lusby. Saves: D-D. Loftus 10, Schroeder 0, Sherwood; L-Hagelin 12, Shinall 0.