Terrapins’ physicality too much for Duke

BALTIMORE — For the defending national champions and sixth ranked team in the nation, a meeting with an unranked team in the national semifinals should seem like a gift from above. Unfortunately for Duke, that team had just beaten the Blue Devils for the ACC championship, and was playing just 30 miles from its campus.

In front of over 40,000 fans in Baltimore—most of whom cheered rabidly for Maryland—the Blue Devils simply couldn’t match the intensity and emotion that characterized the Terrapins’ performance, and Duke was bounced from the Final Four in shocking fashion.

“They hit us to the ground a lot in the first half. Ultimately, they kind of beat us up and there wasn’t too much we could do about it,” midfielder David Lawson said.

Against a veteran team, the Blue Devils were physically outmatched for the majority of the game, and Maryland capitalized on a key Duke injury that changed the complexion of the game. Longstick midfielder CJ Costabile, who scored the national championship-clinching goal last year just seconds after a faceoff win, was forced to play with a broken bone in his hand—meaning Duke could not rely on their primary faceoff threat.

Without Costabile at the faceoff, the Blue Devils won a paltry six of the game’s 17 faceoffs, giving the Terrapins a huge advantage in possession, which they often quickly turned into offense.

“We weren’t as athletic… CJ at full strength can give us a little more. We faced off two freshmen and a sophomore and obviously CJ has taken a lot of draws throughout his career,” Danowski said.

Seconds after Josh Offit’s goal cut the Maryland lead to one in the second quarter, Curtis Holmes’s faceoff win—one of his 11 in the game—turned into a goal that the Blue Devils would never recover from. Holmes scooped up the ball, sprinted downfield and rocketed a shot to the top left corner of the net past Duke goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer, and the Terrapins would never look back.

“I think it was going to be about discipline and the ground ball battle and the face-off battle.... Stealing a few extra possessions with the face-offs and the rides and the clears was huge. Those made the biggest difference today,” Terrapin attacker Grant Catalino said.

To make matters worse for Duke, the Blue Devils’ uncharacteristic inability to secure ground balls combined with a suffocating Maryland defense made it difficult for Duke to stage a comeback. After scoring inside of a minute to start the game, the Blue Devils went scoreless for 18:23, and allowed three Terrapin goals in that period. It took another 15:57 before Offit’s goal gave Duke three for the game.

Against a hungry Maryland team feeding off of its home crowd, the anemic Blue Devil offense wasn’t enough to stay in the game. Though Duke entered the weekend with high hopes of championship repeat, the Terrapins caught the Blue Devils in the right place at the right time.


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