When Duke and Maryland-Baltimore County emerged from the locker rooms at halftime, all the noise was coming from the Retrievers’ side of field.
The game was knotted at four after UMBC scored two late first-half goals, and the visitors seemed to have all the momentum.
But once the second half began it was Duke’s Matt Danowski and Nick O’Hara who set the tone for the rest of the game.
“I didn’t need to say anything [at halftime],” head coach Mike Pressler said. “We’ve been talking all week about the first five minutes of the second half. I was very pleased.”
Three minutes into the third quarter, Danowski received the ball in the crease and flicked it behind his head and past the Retriever goalie for the first of the attackman’s three goals Saturday.
After the ensuing faceoff, O’Hara provided a boost on defense when he flattened UMBC senior midfielder Jeff Rominski, forcing him to leave the game for several minutes.
“I thought our team needed some adrenaline, and I saw him coming across the middle, so I popped him,” O’Hara said.
The No. 13 Blue Devils did not relinquish their lead the rest of the way and finished off the Retrievers 12-10 at Koskinen Stadium. This is the second straight season UMBC has dropped its opener to Duke (2-0).
After Danowski’s goal to start the half, freshman Zach Greer, the team’s leading scorer, tallied two of his three goals within a span of 43 seconds to push the Blue Devil lead to 7-4.
“This team has a strong O-line and great middies,” Greer said. “I’m just trying to fit in and get a solid year under my belt. It really helps to have Danowski and [Dan] Flannery opening it up for me.”
In addition to the usual suspects leading the Duke scoring efforts, senior midfielder Ryan Marshall scored two goals. Marshall’s second, which was the team’s final tally, extended the lead to 12-7 and all but locked up the victory with 8:03 left in the game.
“A key play was moving Marshall up,” Pressler said of his decision to put the midfielder into a more offensive role. “He gave us two goals we weren’t counting on.”
The teams had contrasting styles and neither squad altered its offensive game plan even when the Blue Devils built a five-goal advantage. UMBC continued to pass the ball around the perimeter and pick its shots carefully, while Duke kept pushing the ball through the midfield and was not content to sit on its lead.
The Retrievers opened the game effectively executing their patient, deliberate offensive scheme. It took UMBC only three shots to jump out to a 2-0 lead seven minutes into the game.
The Blue Devils responded with their own fast-paced style, running the ball up on transition and peppering the goal with a barrage of shots on quick offensive possessions.
Flannery scored Duke’s first two goals, both off turnovers in the midfield. Four minutes into the second quarter, Duke tallied two more goals within 29 seconds to push the score to 4-2.
After a 22-minute Retriever scoring drought, UMBC attackman Andy Gallagher beat the Blue Devil goalie, Aaron Fenton, with a double-fake in front of the net. Sophomore Drew Westervelt, who led the Retrievers with four goals and three assists, added a goal with one second remaining on the clock to tie the game at halftime.
Fenton registered 13 saves and the first assist of his career when he lobbed the ball the length of the field. Danowski corralled the ground ball and beat the goalie.... Duke picked up 38 ground balls to UMBC’s 23.... The Retrievers scored during two of their three man-up possessions.
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