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Blue Devils avenge 2005 championship loss

Not even the unseasonably cold weather could put a chill on Duke's attack combo of Matt Danowski and Zach Greer.

Led by Greer's six goals and Danowski's four assists, all of which were to Greer, the No. 4 Blue Devils (9-2) registered their fourth consecutive win with an 11-9 triumph over No. 9 Johns Hopkins (4-4) Saturday in Baltimore. The victory avenged a 9-8 loss to the Blue Jays in the 2005 National Championship game and was Duke's first win over Johns Hopkins since 1997.

"It felt good, no doubt about that," senior Tony McDevitt said. "In my three years at Duke, we were 0-3 against them. It's always good to beat a team like Johns Hopkins that's got tradition when it comes to lacrosse. And it's always good to do it on their home field."

Following a back-and-forth first half that ended with the Blue Devils holding onto a 6-5 advantage, Duke separated itself from the Blue Jays in the opening minutes of the third period.

Just 37 seconds into the second half, defenseman Casey Carroll scored the second goal of his career and his first of the season to give the Blue Devils a two-score lead. Duke struck again less than a minute later as sophomore Gibbs Forgarty scooped up a loose ball in front of the Blue Jays' cage to put the Blue Devils up 8-5 at the 13:32 mark.

Greer capped off the scoring outburst 59 seconds later, putting a cross-field pass from Danowski into the back of the net from 10 yards out to give Duke the four-goal advantage.

"We've been emphasizing all season to break the game up into little pieces-three, five-minute segments," McDevitt said. "When we were in the huddle right before the second half, we told each other to concentrate on the next three minutes. We went out and made some big plays, won face-offs and next thing you know we scored three goals in the next five minutes. And that lifted us eventually for the victory."

Unlike the 2005 title game, in which Duke saw its third quarter lead slowly disappear to the Blue Jays, the Blue Devils did not give Johns Hopkins the opportunity to come back and tie the game. After Danowski set up Greer for the fourth and final time of the afternoon to put Duke up 10-6 with 5:37 to go in the third quarter, the Blue Devils did not let their lead dip below two goals for the remainder of the contest.

"They're definitely a lethal combination," McDevitt said of Greer and Danowski. "Playing with each other for three years, it's almost like Matt knows where Zack's going to be, and vice versa. God bless the defense that goes against them because it's tough to stop those two."

Despite being out-shot 25-12 in the second half, Duke goalie Dan Loftus allowed in only four goals in the final two periods and finished the day with 13 saves.

The Blue Devils will next take the field in arguably their most important game of the regular season as they face off against defending national champion and No. 2 Virginia Saturday. The contest will determine the ACC regular-season title.


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