DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University scored the first 10 goals of the game and cruised to a 14-5 victory over Navy in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament tonight at Koskinen Stadium. The third-seeded Blue Devils held the Midshipmen scoreless for the opening 31:33 and outscored them 13-1 in the first three quarters.
Duke (14-3) improves to 15-12 overall in NCAA Tournament play and advances to the quarterfinal round for the third consecutive season and 10th time overall. The Blue Devils will take on ACC rival North Carolina for the third time this season in Annapolis, Md. on May 17 at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets Click Here or call the Navy Ticket Office at 1-800-US4-NAVY(874-6289).
“I’m at a loss for words,” head coach John Danowski said. “Nobody expects to go up 10-0 in the first round of playoffs, especially against Navy. I’m not so surprised at the 10, but certainly surprised by the zero. You just have to keep playing. We certainly knew that the Navy kids were not going to quit and they played a great second half and actually won the second half. So you have to tip your cap to the Midshipmen.”
Sophomore Zach Howell led the balanced Duke attack with two goals and a career-best three assists, tying his career-high of five points. Max Quinzani added a pair of tallies and a helper, while senior Ned Crotty finished with one goal and two assists.
Navy got the better of Duke at the faceoff X in the first quarter, but the Blue Devil defense stepped up to stifle the Midshipmen attack. After putting together a couple long early possessions of its own, Duke finally got on the board at the 10:25 mark when Ross flew his shot past Navy goalie Tommy Phelan. The goal gave Ross his 100th career point, the third Blue Devil to reach that milestone this season.
Fueled by the effort of the defense and senior goalie Rob Schroeder, the Blue Devil offense picked up steam in the final 6:57 of the opening session. Duke tallied five goals in 6:14 for a 6-0 lead after 15 minutes of action. Rotanz opened the run at 6:57 with an unassisted tally, while Ross got on the board for a second time just 17 seconds later to make it 3-0. The Blue Devils tacked on three more in 1:32 for the 5-0 advantage.
“We didn’t really know what to expect not ever having played Navy,” junior Parker McKee said. “We knew that they were going to hold the ball and pace the game very well so we tried to be as disciplined and fundamental as we could and not let them lull us to sleep.”
The second quarter proved to be much of the same for the Blue Devils, allowing Navy just three shots overall in 15 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Duke continued to do all the right things all over the field.
Howell needed just eight seconds into the quarter to register his first goal of the game. Howell and Quinzani hooked up four minutes later for the 8-0 lead. Senior Sam Payton finished out the 10-0 first-half run with 1:42 left on the clock, taking a feed from Howell and rifling it over the right shoulder of Phelan.
“I definitely didn’t expect that first half,” Crotty said. “They’re a disciplined team, they’re a fast team, and they’re athletic. But it was really our defense. Our defense played great, Rob [Schroeder] played awesome and when you have that kind of momentum coming from the defensive end offensively you have the confidence. We moved the ball well and got our shots.”
Looking to break the scoring drought, the Midshipmen got on the board for the first time all evening 1:33 into the third quarter with a Joe Lennon goal. That tally would be all they could muster in the stanza as Duke answered with a three-goal run, which was capped off by a perfect sequence of passes to set up a Quinzani goal for the 13-1 lead.
The Midshipmen outscored Duke 4-1 in the final frame, getting goals from four different players in 8:14, but the early hole was too much to overcome in the end. Basil Daratsos led Navy in the game with a goal and an assist.
Duke outshot Navy 36-26 for the game, including 24-12 in the first half. After struggling in the opening half on restarts, the Blue Devils came back to win 12-of-23 overall. Duke dominated the ground ball game, picking up 51 to Navy’s 33.
McKee led all players in the game, scooping up a career-high 14 ground balls. At the X, Payton went 6-of-12 and had six ground balls. Rookie CJ Costabile went 5-of-8 in draws.
Schroeder turned in another solid performance between the pipes with eight saves. Sean Brady made two stops in seven minutes of action for Duke. Navy’s Phelan finished with five saves overall.
The five goals allowed are tied for the fewest for Duke this season. Conversely, Duke registered its 13th double figure scoring performance. The Blue Devils are 13-0 when scoring at least 10 goals.
Duke and North Carolina will meet for the third time this season. The two squads last met in the NCAA Tournament in the same location in 2007.
“It’s awesome,” Crotty said. “The Duke-UNC rivalry is something that has been great, especially since I’ve been here and it’s gotten even better this year. They’re playing their best lacrosse now, so we’re really excited to play them again. You want to play the best teams.”
Notes: Senior Brad Ross became the 37th player in Duke history to reach 100 career points ... Ross finished the game with two goals to push his career totals to 75 and 26 for 101 points ... He is the third Blue Devil to reach the 100-point landmark this season.
Junior Max Quinzani pushed his scoring streak to 43 games with three points ... Quinzani has 119 goals and 28 assists during that stretch ...
Duke is now 15-12 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and have won nine of the past 12 contests ... The Blue Devils have won their past four NCAA Tournament home games (2005, 07, 08, 09), outscoring their opponent 67-19 in those four outings.
The Blue Devils held a team scoreless in the opening half for the first time this season ... The five goals allowed is the fourth fewest in Duke NCAA Tournament history.
Duke is now 31-3 at home over the past three seasons, including 9-2 in 2009 ... The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents 121-82 this season at home.