Blue Devils roll past Terps in ACC opener

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Playing their first game following an emotional return to the field last weekend, the Blue Devils passed their first road test with flying colors.

No. 2 Duke (3-0) coasted to a convincing 14-7 victory over No. 6 Maryland (2-2) Friday in Byrd Stadium.

"Last week was tough to evaluate because of all the emotion," Duke head coach John Danowski said. "Today, we were trying to be relaxed and have a relaxed approach."

Nobody looked more comfortable than attackman Matt Danowski, who netted six goals on 11 shots, tying a career high he set against Army in 2005.

"Anytime a player has six goals and you have seven, you don't stand a good chance of winning," Maryland head coach Dave Cottle said. "As an offensive player, when you score early it makes it easier to play the game, and he scored early and often."

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 4-1 lead with 6:11 remaining in the first quarter after Danowski took a pass from midfielder Steve Schoeffel and skipped a shot past the leg of Maryland goaltender Brian Phipps for his second score of the game.

The Terrapins never threatened, as Duke's defense played well despite the absence of preseason first-team All-American Tony McDevitt, who remains sidelined with a knee injury suffered in Duke's home opener against Dartmouth. The Blue Devils held Maryland to just seven goals on 32 shots, while senior goaltender Dan Loftus recorded 14 saves.

"We were disappointed with how we played defense last weekend," John Danowski said of the fact that his team gave up 20 goals to Dartmouth and Denver last weekend. "It's not about playing individually and covering your man so to speak-it's about playing together. I thought defensively we had a better sense of how we'd like to play and a little bit more of that team concept."

Conversely, Maryland's defense struggled to contain the Blue Devil offense, which dominated possession throughout the game.

With Maryland's top goalie, two-time All-American Harry Alford, as well as understudy Jason Carter sidelined with injuries, the freshman Phipps struggled in front of the cage, allowing 14 goals while recording 13 saves.

The Terrapins' defense did not help Phipps' cause, as players failed to slide off their man to help whoever was guarding Danowski-a strategy that lead to the senior's career day.

"They didn't want to come off of Zack [Greer] because of the shooter he is," Matt Danowski said. "They weren't going to slide, so we took advantage of that and knew how to adjust to that type of defense. Tonight happened to be my night."

After netting eight goals in Duke's two contests last weekend, Greer was held to one goal, but he tallied three assists to bring his season total to seven. Danowski and Greer have accounted for 19 of the Blue Devils' 44 goals this season.

"You never know what to expect, but that's the good thing about our team," Greer said. "When some guys are getting shut off, other guys are going to step up and that's exactly what happened today."


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