Terps loom as 1st road opponent

After playing its season-opener in front of the second-largest crowd in school history last Saturday, No. 2 Duke will play on the road for the first time in 10 months tonight.

Far removed from the friendly confines of Koskinen Stadium, the Blue Devils (2-0) will face off at No. 6 Maryland (2-1) in Byrd Stadium at 7 p.m.

"No one knew what to expect last weekend," Duke head coach John Danowski said. "I don't think the guys envisioned waiting for the national anthem and being cheered for a couple of minutes. The guys never expected that in their wildest dreams."

After 10 months of media scrutiny and national attention, the Blue Devils said they feel more comfortable now that the season is underway.

"That first weekend was a hurdle for us," captain Ed Douglas said. "It was certainly a big challenge for us physically and mentally. I think now we're really ready to get into the teeth of the season."

The Terrapins won their first two against Bellarmine and Vermont before losing to No. 1 Georgetown 8-6 last Saturday. Junior attackman Max Ritz scored three times and added two assists in the loss.

A preseason honorable mention All-American, Ritz is part of Maryland's dangerous inverted offense, which will try to create mismatches in the Duke defense for increased scoring opportunities.

"Maryland has sort of a ball-control offense," Douglas said. "I think they'll probably try to invert us a lot and initiate from behind the cage. It's going to be a game where the team that's ultimately successful is the one that imposes their style of play on the other."

The third winningest active coach in collegiate lacrosse, Maryland head coach Dave Cottle pioneered this innovative offense during his 14 years at Loyola. It involves rotating the midfielders, who are usually positioned in front of the goal, behind the net and then attacking from the back.

With the offense run from behind the goal, the inversion allows the attacking players to face the net when receiving a feed pass and forces the defensemen to play with their backs to the ball.

"Maryland is so well coached," Danowski said. "Dave Cottle might be the best X's and O's coach in the game. In fact, he probably is."

But Danowski's Blue Devil offense hopes to give Maryland's tough defense some trouble as well. Co-ACC Player of the Week Zack Greer posted eight goals and five assists in the team's first two outings. With 13 total points, Greer has been involved in nearly half of Duke's 30 goals this season.

"They're going to try to do some different things on defense," Greer said. "We just have to prepare for that. If we keep moving the ball like we have been and keep going to the goal, things should fall into place."

The media madness seems to have died down now that the season has begun, and the Blue Devils said they look forward to being able to concentrate more on lacrosse when they face off against Maryland.

"It's that time of year to play lacrosse," Danowski said. "All these kids who have played lacrosse since they were young-it's time now."


Share and discuss “Terps loom as 1st road opponent” on social media.