WASHINGTON—Fresh off his record-setting 376th win last week against Jacksonville, Duke head coach John Danowski faced off against one of his former players at Hofstra looking to extend his team’s current winning streak to five.
And although the teams met the day after St. Patrick’s Day, the Blue Devils required little luck to dispatch Georgetown and head into ACC play undefeated in the month of March.
No. 13 Duke extended its winning streak with a stress-free 12-7 win against the Hoyas at Cooper Field, blitzing a second straight opponent early to seize control. Junior attackman Justin Guterding led the charge again, pouring in five goals and an assists as the Blue Devils started the game up 6-1, then never let Georgetown get closer than three the rest of the way.
After the Hoyas pulled within 8-5 in the third quarter, Guterding and freshman attack Joey Manown—who added two goals and two assists—sparked a 4-0 fourth-quarter burst that put the victory away.
“Guys are learning how to play. They’re gaining experience every week, learning how to play on the road, learning how to play out of a bus, learning how to play at the end of spring break—it’s just new,” Duke head coach John Danowski said. “We’re gaining a lot of experience. The ACC is the best league in college lacrosse. Every week is a battle, and if you’re not ready to play, you’re going to get dusted up pretty quickly.”
The Blue Devils (7-2) were in control from the opening faceoff, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Terry Lindsay and Guterding in the first seven minutes of the game. After the Hoyas answered with a goal of their own, Guterding’s fellow attackman Manown shed his defender on the right side of the goal and cut across the middle for an unassisted score to extend Duke’s lead back to two.
That would be the closest the Hoyas (2-5) came to unseating the No. 12 Blue Devils, who poured in five goals in the opening period and never looked back. After Mitch Russell added to Duke’s lead with a goal of his own, Guterding broke out in transition and found Manown in front of the goal for his team-leading 21st assist of the season.
“We were trying to make their poles cover our attackmen. We thought we had the better athletes on attack, and they weren’t sliding to us, which was kind of shocking,” Guterding said. “We attacked them early, and then they eventually started sliding and we started figuring them out and picking them apart.”
Guterding, Manown and senior Jack Bruckner provided the bulk of the Blue Devils’ offense, combining for 12 of Duke’s 20 points in the game. Bruckner, the ACC Offensive Player of the Week entering Saturday’s game, scored with 8:13 left in the game to extend the lead to 9-5.
For Manown, the outing was one of his best in his short Duke career so far. Although he came up one goal short of his second hat trick of the season, he set new season-highs in points and assists.
“Joe has been that piece that has been missing in the first half of the season. He just figures out how to get points,” Danowski said. “He had an assist on extra-man today, he figured out how to get [four] points, and as he develops confidence playing at this level, he’s gonna get better and better.”
In addition to controlling the game on the offensive end, the Blue Devils were dominant on the other side of the ball as well, holding the Hoyas to just seven goals on 34 shots. Georgetown struggled to get clean shots off against Duke goalkeeper Danny Fowler, who recorded 11 saves.
Jake Carraway led the Hoyas with three goals, but was met with tough resistance around the net. Although Georgetown had three extra-man opportunities, it could only capitalize on one in the fourth quarter with the game all but out of reach.
“We look at goalie play as a function of team defense, and how the guys are playing in front of [Fowler]. I thought defensively, we gave up shots from the perimeter, shots that he could see,” Danowski said. “He didn’t have to make a lot of saves in the paint. He’s getting into a rhythm now, and the defense in front of him is playing better as a group.”
Georgetown mounted its only real challenge to the Blue Devils in the third quarter, outscoring Duke three to one to cut Duke’s lead to three. After the two teams traded goals early after the break, Carraway beat Fowler twice in the last four minutes of the period, bringing the home crowd to life after the Blue Devils dominated the first half.
But Duke showed its early-season growth by slamming the door after Bruckner's initial fourth-quarter tally, and will now turn its attention to a Saturday showdown at No. 6 Syracuse to open ACC play.
“We just came out a little flat [after halftime]. I thought we were a little satisfied, which is not usually what we like to be,” Guterding said. “We were up 7-2 at half, and we thought this was going to be easy, but they’re a tough team, and they like to scrap. We responded in the fourth quarter.”