You know the names Sowers and O’Neill, but do you know Cameron Badour and Nakeie Montgomery? If you’re keeping up with Duke men's lacrosse this season you may have to start learning more names, because this team is deep.
Seniors Badour and Montgomery both put up hat tricks, sophomore Dyson Williams and graduate transfer Phil Robertson scored two goals each and six more Blue Devils notched goals to help Duke to a 16-12 win against Robert Morris Sunday afternoon in Koskinen Stadium.
Like their game against Denver Friday, the Blue Devils got off to a rocky start, as the Colonials scored four unanswered goals to open the first quarter.
However, graduate student Terry Lindsay opened up the scoring for Duke on a faceoff win from freshman Jake Naso, who played his first game as a starter. It was an unexpected source for the first Blue Devil goal, but Duke has showed that you should expect the unexpected.
Graduate student Turner Uppgren started in goal, but after struggling in the first quarter was replaced by St. Joseph's transfer Mike Adler, who came in to play a phenomenal game. Similarly to Friday's contest in which Uppgren replaced a struggling Adler early in the second period, the goalie switch invigorated the Blue Devils, who went on to score eight unanswered goals.
Following Lindsay’s tally, offense continued to come from unexpected places, including a goal from long stick defenseman Tyler Carpenter and a few more in transition.
Duke welcomed a myriad of new, talented players over the offseason, but integrating them into the program's system hasn’t been seamless.
“As you can see today, [integrating the new players] wasn't easy. And it's not gonna be easy for a while, until they really get a feel for each other, for the Division I game,” head coach John Danowski said.
However, as new players get acclimated, Duke can rely on its depth pieces, especially veterans, to score and pull the team together.
“There's a group of guys that have been really steady over the weekend, and we can build on that, we can build with them,” Danowski said.
Montgomery and Badour, both four-year veterans, are some of those guys, as well as graduate student captain JT Giles-Harris, who made some incredible defensive plays Sunday. Even sophomores who know the system have helped create some cohesiveness as the Blue Devils adapt to major lineup changes—Carpenter picked up five ground balls and forced four turnovers in addition to his goal, and Williams chipped in two goals.
Furthermore, Duke will regain another veteran presence soon. Joe Robertson, the team's leading scorer in 2019 who missed last season to injury, will be returning to practice this week to give the Blue Devils an offensive boost and valuable leadership skills on the field.
None of this is to say that the highly-touted stars were invisible—Michael Sowers had three assists and Brennan O’Neill had two—but this win was truly a team effort and shows what’s to come once the team develops chemistry throughout the season.
“We need these experiences. We need game experiences to find out who we are and what we might become,” Danowski said.
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Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.