STONY BROOK, N.Y.óDuke sophomore Zach Howell tallied a career-high five points from three goals and two assists to push the 10th-ranked Blue Devils to a 12-6 victory over Dartmouth in the first game of the Lacrosse For Autism double-header at Stony Brook University. Duke is now 12-0 all-time against the Big Green.
“We like to build off things each week,” Howell said. “Offensively our points of emphasis are to have a good shooting percentage and to get more accustomed to each other each week. I think there are times where you can tell when we play together things start flowing like in the second quarter. I think we’re starting to piece that together more and more each week.”
The Blue Devils (8-3) outscored Dartmouth 4-1 in the final 18:14 of the contest to secure their eighth victory of the year. Senior Brad Ross added three scores, while Ned Crotty had a game-high four assists. Junior Max Quinzani produced four points from two goals and a career-high two assists. Duke had nine different players with at least one point in the game. Jimmy Mullen led all Big Green scorers with three goals.
“Certainly we were delighted to win,” head coach John Danowski said. “We had a full week of practice after playing three games in eight days and I’m really happy with the development of our man-down group and our ability to clear the ball today, which have been two points of emphasis for us during the week. We’re really happy with the win and getting better at different phases of the game that we need to improve on.”
Duke scored on its first possession just 2:23 into the game when Steve Schoeffel found Ross on the left side. Ross rifled a shot past Dartmouth goalie Fergus Campbell for the 1-0 lead. Just over a minute later it was Quinzani picking up a ground ball on the doorstep and dropping it in the cage to make it 2-0.
Dartmouth (2-6) responded with a pair of tallies over the next six minutes to tie the game at 2-2. Brian Koch registered the first at 9:03, while Kip Dooley added an unassisted score at 5:20.
The Blue Devils took advantage of a 30-second penalty by the Big Green on their next possession. Just 14 seconds into the man-up chance Ross seized the brief opening and fired home his second goal of the game and 11th of the season for a 3-2 advantage with 4:13 left in the first frame.
Holding the ball in the final seconds of the first quarter, Dooley tried to notch the tying score but was denied by the crossbar as Duke held a 3-2 lead after 15 minutes.
The Big Green won the opening faceoff of the second session and raced down the field for a shot, but was denied by Duke keeper Rob Schroeder.
After stifling the Dartmouth offense, Duke put together a long offensive possession. Ross completed the play, dodging the Dartmouth defenseman to the left pipe and beating Campbell over his right shoulder for the 4-2 lead with 7:53 left in the quarter.
The Big Green and Blue Devils traded goals in a two-minute span as Koch bounced one past Schroeder to make it a one-goal game, 4-3. Duke came right back on the next possession and pushed its lead back to two when Howell added his second of the game with 3:17 left until halftime.
Duke closed out the final 30 seconds with a bang, scoring twice in a span of seven seconds to take a 7-3 lead into the locker room. Mike Catalino and Quinzani hooked up first with 31 ticks left and seven seconds later it was Ned Crotty feeding Quinzani for the 7-3 halftime advantage.
Mullen pulled Dartmouth back to within three with an unassisted goal two minutes into the third quarter. Coming up empty on a couple of possessions, Duke got back on the board at the 8:45 mark when Crotty threaded a pass through the middle to Howell right on the doorstep for his second goal of the game and an 8-4 lead.
The Big Green and Blue Devils traded man-up goals to close out the scoring in the third quarter as Duke led 9-5 after 45 minutes of action.
After an even opening eight minutes of the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils took control with three goals in less than four minutes. Sam Payton got on the board for the first time in the game with 7:13 left in the game. Howell came back four minutes later to register his third goal of the game with an assist from Loftus behind the cage.
Schoeffel finished the Duke scoring with 2:28 remaining when Crotty handed out his fourth assist of the day and 30th of the season.
Payton went 10-of-18 in faceoffs and picked up eight ground balls. The Blue Devils were efficient on the man-up, scoring on two of their three chances. On the other side of the field, Duke held the Big Green to just one man-up score on five opportunities.
In goal, Schroeder made six stops to earn his eighth win of the season. Campbell had a career day for the Big Green with 17 stops in 60 minutes of action.
Duke outshot Dartmouth 40-31, including 24-11 in the first half. The Blue Devils won the ground ball battle 32-22 and successfully cleared 14-of-16 times for the game.
Duke will have a week off from action before returning to Koskinen Stadium to host top-ranked Virginia on April 11 at 4 p.m. The game will be televised live by ESPN2.