DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University's Jess Fehr netted a career-high five goals to lead the 12th-ranked Blue Devils to an 18-5 victory over Mercer in men's lacrosse action this afternoon at Koskinen Stadium. Fehr was one of 11 Duke players to register at least one goal in the game.
Duke captured its third straight win to improve to 4-2 overall on the year and 4-0 at home. Freshman Josh Dionne added a hat trick for the Blue Devils, while senior Tom Rynn had two scores. A pair of Blue Devils in Kevin Young and Charlie Payton tallied their first career goals and sophomore Eddie Loftus handed out a career-best three assists.
Mercer (0-9) scored the game's first goal as Colton Mattei snuck a shot past Duke goaltender Mike Rock for the early 1-0 lead. Sam Grayson picked up the assist on the play.
The Blue Devils evened the score at the 6:11 mark of the first quarter to jump start an 8-0 run that spanned into the beginning of the third quarter. Rynn registered Duke's first marker off an assist from Sam Spillane and senior Justin Turri and sophomore Jake Tripucka both added unassisted scores to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead after 15 minutes of action.
Just 40 seconds into the second stanza, Fehr made it 4-1 and Duke added three more to take a 7-1 halftime lead. The Blue Devils held the Bears to just seven shots in the first half and forced 11 turnovers.
Josh Offit closed out Duke's eight-goal run at the 13:21 mark of the third quarter to make it an 8-1 contest. Mercer freshman Cole Branch tallied his first goal of the game and 13th of the season to end the Bears' drought at the 12:19 mark of the third frame. Duke held Mercer without a goal for 30:26.
After the squads traded goals over the next two minutes, Duke ran off nine straight for a commanding 18-3 lead with 7:30 left in the game. The Bears notched the game's final two goals, including a third from Branch as he led all Mercer players with three tallies.
Duke dominated the faceoff game, winning 21-of-25 restarts. Sophomore Henry Meyer led the team with six wins on the draw, while Brendan Fowler won 5-of-6 and Charlie Payton was a perfect 3-of-3. Meyer also led the squad with five ground balls. The Blue Devils held a 40-25 advantage in shots and won the ground ball game 45-23. Duke was 2-of-5 on the extra man and held Mercer to no man-up scores on four chances.
In goal, senior Mike Rock made seven saves in 45 minutes of action. Christopher Shannon had two stops in the fourth quarter for Duke. Dillon Volk went the distance and made 10 saves.
The Blue Devils resume ACC competition this coming week. Duke will travel to conference rival North Carolina on March 17. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m., on ESPNU.