BALTIMORE—Entering Saturday, Duke had gone winless in its past two trips to the NCAA tournament—a rare stretch of futility for a program that went to eight straight Final Fours from 2007 to 2014.

After their dominant opening-round performance, however, the Blue Devils have definitively put the past two years behind them.

Duke overpowered its old foe in the first half on its way a 19-6 victory against sixth-seeded Johns Hopkins in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Homewood Field. The Blue Devils controlled both sides of the ball and were led by a spectacular performance from junior attackman Justin Guterding, who tied a career high with 10 points and finished one point shy of tying the all-time program record for points in the NCAA tournament.

After the Blue Jays jumped out to a quick two-goal advantage within the first four minutes of the game, the Duke defense clamped down—the Blue Devils outscored the hosts by 15 the rest of the way and surrendered just one second-half goal.

“Our kids responded being down 2-0 early in the game. Kyle Rowe gave us possession of the ball a bunch early, and our second midfield was productive early,” Duke head coach John Danowski said. “We scored a few goals, running out, getting out, which is something that we hadn’t been doing. That’s how we want to play and we were able to do that. Once you get the lead, sometimes your opponent starts to push a little bit, [increase] the tempo, and we were able to relax a little bit.”

The Blue Devils were efficient from the get-go, nearly matching their season average of 12.8 goals per game in just the first 30 minutes after falling behind early for the fourth straight game. 

Duke (13-4) replicated the same near-perfect offensive attack it showed against Boston University last weekend, getting out in transition and beating the defense down the field before it could get set up in the box. The Blue Devils scored 12 goals on 21 shots before halftime against a defense that surrendered 10.9 goals per game this season.

Johns Hopkins was without expected starting goalie Gerald Logan, who was declared academically ineligible less than 24 hours before the contest.

“It was fun to run. After our Notre Dame game, we felt like we weren’t using our athleticism to our ability,” Guterding said. “Last week against [Boston University] we got up and down and we were running.... This week, [we] thought the same thing, and we got to 19. We’re a very athletic group and we want to expose other teams when we run.”

In Logan’s absence, Brock Turnbaugh got the start for the Blue Jays, but did not make it past the end of the first half. The junior—who finished the afternoon with 14 goals allowed and just seven saves—exited after Duke freshman Reilly Walsh scored with 2:27 left in the second period to bring the Blue Devils' total to 11.

Still, Johns Hopkins (8-7) could not find an answer for the Duke offense and Guterding, in particular. The Garden City, N.Y., native finished with four goals and six assists, freshman Joey Manown added four more goals and sophomore Sean Lowrie netted his second hat trick of the season.

“We can do this against anyone, and I think I just found a good time to do it,” Lowrie said. “We had the spacing down really well, and that’s what we’ve been focusing on for the past couple of weeks. That’s what opened up cuts and got us great shots.”

Kyle Rowe and the rest of the special teams unit were equally instrumental, as the Blue Devils won 19 of 28 faceoffs—including 12 of 18 before the end of the first half. The Blue Jays tried to counter with a number of different combinations on the wings and in the circle, but could not solve Duke’s dominance.

As a result, the Blue Devils controlled the ball for much of the game, especially in the second half, and prevented any attempt at a comeback.

“We’ve been fortunate and lucky to have two great faceoff men here in the last couple years,” Danowski said. “He initially didn’t win every draw, but then he picked up some big ground balls, during those extended scrums, and that was something we really hadn’t seen from Kyle this year. He’s been really solid all year.”

Although Duke’s offense was dominant, its defense was nearly as effective. Coming out of the break, the Blue Devils were virtually perfect on defense, holding Johns Hopkins without a goal for more than 15 minutes and limiting the Blue Jays to just four shots.

One of the expected keys for both teams in the opening-round game was the matchup between Duke’s man-down defense and Johns Hopkins’ extra-man offense, ranked first in the nation.

As it turned out, however, the anticipated matchup never occurred. The Blue Devils did not commit a single penalty, killing the extra-man opportunities before they even started.

“Our guys were fresh. Defensively, we weren’t tired, and as possessions got shorter a little bit, in the second half, I think that allowed us not to foul,” Danowski said. “I don’t think we did. I don’t really recall anything where guys were really swinging their sticks or out of position or were in any kind of desperation mode in terms of their checks.”

With the win, Duke’s junior class also picked up its first tournament victory after the Blue Devils were eliminated in the first round in each of the past two years.

Now, Duke will turn its attention to the quarterfinals, where it will take on No. 3 seed Ohio State at noon next Saturday on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

“It’s huge for our confidence. Our junior class as a whole knows we really haven’t won anything, we haven’t won a playoff game, haven’t won the ACC championship,” Guterding said. Now, we’ve got it under our belt, and it’s just time to play and have fun.”