Blue Devils eke by UNC, blow out Dartmouth

Although it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the Big Green did not have the luck of the Irish.

No. 9 Duke (6-3, 1-1 in the ACC) defeated Dartmouth (2-2) 20-9 Sunday afternoon at Koskinen Stadium, tallying the most goals since they put up 20 in a season-opening victory over Siena last season. This was the Blue Devils’ third consecutive victory, completing a grueling stretch in their schedule with four games in eight days.

Duke also eked out a win Friday over No. 11 North Carolina (5-3, 0-1), 13-11, behind three goals and three assists from Jordan Wolf.

Despite its road woes this season, Duke improved to a perfect 6-0 at home.

“We’ve struggled a little bit, but we feel confident at home,” senior midfielder Robert Rotanz said. “We needed this week to get better.”

Rotanz, Wolf and Josh Dionne tallied four goals apiece for the Blue Devils against Dartmouth. Wolf added three assists for a game-high seven points. Midfielder Justin Turri also registered four assists along with two goals for six points.

Duke did not take long to strike first, scoring its first goal when Rotanz was set up by Jake Tripucka just 1:02 into the contest. Dartmouth responded just three minutes later with a goal, but the Blue Devils were persistent, and after tallies by Wolf, Dionne, and Turri they held a 4-2 lead after one quarter.

Duke was dominant on the defensive end in the second quarter, letting up just one goal in the period after keeping the Big Green scoreless for 18:41, giving the Blue Devils a 10-4 halftime lead. Junior Dan Wigrizer was effective between the pipes, allowing just three goals and registering eight saves in one half of play. Duke held possession for most of the second quarter, largely due to its success winning ground balls, holding a 37-27 advantage on the afternoon. CJ Costabile led the way with 10 ground balls.

The Blue Devils exploded in the third quarter, scoring nine goals from six different players.

“I think we were just in the groove. Sometimes our biggest problem is making the simple pass,” Rotanz said. “I think everybody was feeling it. Momentum is a funny thing. Once you’re feeling it the right things happen and you score goals.”

Many of these goals came directly off the faceoff, where Duke held a 20-13 advantage. Sophomore Brendan Fowler led the way for the Blue Devils, winning 10 of his 16 attempts. Duke was able to take advantage of its faceoff victories to score in bunches. Twice during the third quarter the Blue Devils scored four consecutive goals in a two-minute span.

“It’s a great momentum builder. You score a goal and then you score another one. You might give up a goal, and then you get one back,” head coach John Danowski said. “That ability to score off of the faceoff is such an advantage.”

With a comfortable lead, the Blue Devils pulled their starters for the final period and cruised to an easy victory.

The Blue Devils continued their game of musical chairs in goal, as four different netminders saw action against the Big Green. Wigrizer received his fourth start of the season and was the most impressive in 30 minutes of action. Redshirt senior Mike Rock replaced Wigrizer to begin the third quarter, allowing three early goals but recovering to record four saves of his own. Freshman Kyle Turri saw nine minutes in net to begin the fourth quarter, allowing three goals without recording a save. Christopher Shannon replaced Turri and made three saves in six scoreless minutes to seal the victory. There was no indication as to who would be the number one goaltender moving forward.

“I think our feeling is that we’ve won with all three [goalies],” Danowski said. “We’ve won with Dan, we’ve won with Mike Rock and we’ve won with Kyle Turri. Goaltending sometimes is a function of how the defense plays in front of the goalie. If we give up inside shots, it’s tough for any goalie to make those saves.”

The offense was more stable, lead by Rotanz, who hit the back of the net on all four of his shots, bringing his season goal count to 16. The game also had personal implications, as Robert’s younger brother, Brendan, scored his fifth goal of the year for Dartmouth in the fourth quarter.

“I was happy he got a little goal but the big brother has to beat the little brother. It was good to establish a little dominance out here,” Robert Rotanz said. “I just wanted to beat him. My brother and I love each other but we’re very competitive. You don’t want to lose to your little brother.”


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