CHAPEL HILL, N.C.— Sophomore midfielder Justin Turri scored three goals and added one assist to lead 10th-ranked Duke to a 12-8 victory over eighth-ranked North Carolina at a rain-soaked Kenan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Devils outscored the Tar Heels 9-4 in the second half as Duke had 10 players with at least one point.
The Blue Devils improve to 6-2 overall and 1-1 in ACC play while the Tar Heels fall to 7-2 overall and 0-1 in the league.
“We focused hard in practice all week,” senior Steve Schoeffel said. “We knew what was ahead of us and it feels great to get the win now after so much hard work and effort put in during practice all week.”
Duke has now won nine in a row over the Tar Heels. Since the 1995 ACC Tournament when the Blue Devils defeated North Carolina by a 14-6 count in the championship game, Duke has won 17-of-22 contests against its chief rival.
“I didn’t mention [the win streak against North Carolina] once this week to the team,” Danowski said. “To me it’s not important, it’s the next game. It’s North Carolina, which is always special here and I’ve learned that in my three years, but it’s the next game. Games come very quickly and next it’s Cornell, so we can enjoy this one for a little bit, but then you have to get right back to work.”
On Saturday, the Blue Devils used a string of six consecutive goals to turn a 4-3 halftime deficit into a 9-4 advantage when Zach Howell scored with 13:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. Howell and Schoeffel each added two goals for the Blue Devils while goalkeeper Rob Schroeder was credited with 10 saves including five in the final period.
Duke won the opening faceoff and fired a quick shot on net that was stopped by Grant Zimmerman. The Tar Heels cleared right away and quickly found Sean Delaney on the left side of the field. Delaney rifled a shot over the left shoulder of Duke goalie Rob Schroeder for the 1-0 lead 50 seconds into the contest.
The Blue Devils put together a long possession at the 10-minute mark as they trimmed nearly two minutes off the clock, but were unable to even the score. Forcing a turnover by the Tar Heels on the ensuing possession, Duke drew a pair of penalties to go on a two-man advantage.
Duke set up its man-up offense and evened the score with a strike from senior Mike Catalino. Turri provided the assist on the play that made it 1-1 with 6:47 left in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils needed just 51 seconds to take their first lead of the contest. Turri got the ball on the right side and dodged the defender and bounced a shot past Zimmerman for the 2-1 lead.
North Carolina came back four minutes later to tie the game at two when a Billy Bitter pass from behind the cage found Cryder DiPietro out front for the tying goal at the 10:15 mark. The Tar Heels regained the lead 50 seconds later with a tally from Bart Wagner.
After holding the Tar Heels off the board over the next couple possessions, Duke got a quick goal from Brad Ross with 7:11 left in the first half. Both teams were able to get good looks at goal, but solid defensive efforts by the Blue Devils and Tar Heels kept the scoreboard at three apiece until the waning seconds.
Getting the ball back in its offensive end in the final minutes of the first half, North Carolina ate up nearly two minutes of the clock as it posted a go-ahead score from Sean Delaney with 16 seconds left for a 4-3 lead at the break.
Duke was outstanding in the third quarter, scoring four unanswered for a 7-4 lead after 45 minutes of action. Senior Ned Crotty started the scoring for the Blue Devils with a blast past Zimmerman at the 12:31 mark. Rookie Robert Rotanz gave Duke the lead again at 5-4 less than two minutes later when he dodged to the left and slipped ball low into the cage.
The Blue Devil defense continued to frustrate North Carolina, allowing the Tar Heels just five shots in the third frame. Offensively, Duke was a picture of efficiency scoring four goals on just nine shots.
Leading 5-4, Howell gave Duke its largest lead of the game at the time when he scored from Chris Loftus with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Turri stretched the Blue Devil advantage to three one minute later with his second tally of the game.
Already having a career-high day, Turri added another tally to his line with an underhanded rifle from the left side to make it an 8-4 contest in the opening minute of the fourth stanza. Howell pushed Duke’s run to six unanswered 55 seconds later with his second goal of the game.
“It’s awesome [to have new people scoring], I love it,” Crotty said. “Zach Howell had one or two today and we’ve really been looking for him to step up. He’s been doing it in practice, he’s just been looking for that breakout game he had today and especially to do it against a team like UNC is a big confidence booster. You want a balanced offense and I think you’re starting to see that we can have that.”
North Carolina stopped the run with a goal from Ben Hunt at the 10:54 mark, but it was Duke that was firing on all cylinders and responded with two more scores to make it 11-5 with 6:19 left to play.
The Tar Heels pulled to within five again just over a minute later, but Duke’s swarming defense continued to keep North Carolina on its heels. Schoeffel tallied a man-down marker in between two Tar Heel goals in the final 3:24 to account for the final margin.
“Defensively, usually team defense is one of the last things to come,” Danowski said. “All of our guys are pretty good on the ball, it’s off the ball where in Division I you really have to learn to play together and I think we are getting better off the ball. Rob Schroeder saw the ball really well today and was able to make some saves and outlet the ball, so we’re really happy with our team defense.”
The North Carolina defense held Crotty – the ACC’s leader in assists – without a helper, but eight of Duke’s 12 goals were assisted. Loftus and Ross finished with two assists apiece.
The win pulls Duke closer in the final Carlyle Cup standings as North Carolina currently leads the year-long rivalry 11.5-5.5. The lacrosse game was the 15th installment of the 2008-09 Carlyle Cup.
Duke returns to action on March 17, hosting No. 4 Cornell at Koskinen Stadium at 7 p.m.