Duke looks for rematch, not repeat, in NCAA semifinals

In a rematch of last season's NCAA semifinal loss, Duke is not looking for a repeat result.

Facing an ACC rival that defeated No. 2 seed Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinal round, No. 3 seed Duke (15-4) will square off at 5 p.m. with Maryland (11-5) Saturday in the semifinal round of the NCAA tournament at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Blue Devils and Terrapins split their two contests this season, with Maryland winning the regular-season matchup 10-7 and Duke winning in the ACC tournament semifinal 6-5.

"[Maryland] is playing its best lacrosse of the season," Blue Devil head coach John Danowski said. "They're a terrific defensive team, fabulous goalie. And they're getting a lot of balanced scoring from their offensive players."

After holding the nation’s leading scorer, Colgate's Peter Baum, to only one goal in their quarterfinal victory last weekend, Duke is in for a different defensive test this week, facing the Terrapins' unique offensive scheme. Maryland's offensive unit has a tendency to hold the ball to a stall warning before firing shots at goal. The sheer length of their possessions has the potential to frustrate the Blue Devils and take their defense out of its groove.

"We're just going to have to keep playing our way," senior defender Michael Manley said. "We've proved throughout this year that we can play any way. If they want to stall, we're ready for that."

To avoid playing long stretches of defense against Maryland’s patient offensive unit, maintaining possession by controlling face-offs, collecting ground balls and forcing turnovers is a key for Duke. The Blue Devils were successful in these areas in their quarterfinal victory in which they won 57.7% of their face-offs, scooped up 12 more ground balls than the Raiders and forced a season-high 23 turnovers.

Duke's offensive attack, which ranks 12th in the nation in scoring, has no shortage of depth, with seven players who tallied 20 or more points this season. Four of these players were recently named All-America honorees by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association--sophomore Jordan Wolf and seniors Robert Rotanz, CJ Costabile and Justin Turri.

"We're certainly going to have to play seven against their six offensive players, including our goalie," Maryland head coach John Tillman said. "They're a team that doesn't really key on one person, so we're going to have to communicate really well, understand what defensive scheme we're in, and think one play ahead."

This marks the sixth consecutive year in which the Blue Devils have reached championship weekend. With a win Saturday, Duke will face the winner of Loyola (Md.) and Notre Dame, both of whom handed Duke early-season defeats.



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