No. 1 Duke men's lacrosse rebounds in style, squashes Princeton as Zawada and Williams combine for 9 goals

The Blue Devils celebrate one of their many goals during Sunday's demolition of Princeton.
The Blue Devils celebrate one of their many goals during Sunday's demolition of Princeton.

Given too much sunlight, an ivy plant will wither and die. 

The Blue Devils again faced off in Durham Sunday after a flaming upset from No. 17 Penn Friday. In that game, Duke was reminded of its own mortality and — after suffering through an ugly first half — was unable to complete the comeback. But the second matchup in the Blue Devils’ Ivy League weekend brightened up the rainy disappointment from the first. On Sunday in Koskinen Stadium, the top-ranked Blue Devils’ southern shine proved to be too much for its Ivy League visitors, as Duke weeded No. 15 Princeton to the sound of a 17-8 beatdown. 

“It was a great opportunity to put Friday behind us. Everybody was angry — the coaches were angry and the players were angry,” said head coach John Danowski. “But like life, you learn more from your losses than you do from your wins … I thought that today there was a different intensity.”

Backed by the wall-like heroics of freshman goalkeeper Patrick Jameison’s 73.7% save rate, the Tiger offense was never able to gain traction.

“In the box, defensively, we played very well Friday night, we just gave up a lot in transition and man-down and in all sorts of different ways. I thought we did a good job on the offensive moves, really hustled when we turned the ball over,” Danowski said. “We continue to grow. Losing is a gut-check all the time, and so it was a really good opportunity for us today.”

Contributing to Jameison’s impressive rate was the swarming Blue Devil defense which removed any and all opportunities of decent looks for Princeton. Low-quality looks from the Tigers up against high-quality goalkeeping meant few first-half goals for the visitors. On the offensive side, graduate attackers Dyson Williams and Josh Zawada led the scoring, with Zawada finishing with four goals and two assists in tandem with Williams’ five-goal effort. 

As Zawada pointed out, handing Princeton its second loss this season was the work of the entire team, as eight Blue Devils scored in the victory. 

“We kind of regrouped on Saturday, went over some things, and it was just a team effort,” Zawada said. “I got the luck of the draw today, and it was my time to step up. And I did.”

The game opened with two quick scores from the visiting team, and for a moment, Duke (5-1) was reminded of the sour taste in its mouth which linger from Friday’s loss. After going down two, the Blue Devils knew it was time to get to work. 

Duke followed the 2-0 deficit with nine uninterrupted goals, the work of Zawada, Williams, senior Brennan O’Neill, junior Andrew McAdorey, sophomore Max Sloat and freshman Benn Johnston. 

During the run, Jameison marked seven saves, holding off the Tigers (3-2) as his team gained a sizable lead. By halftime, the Blue Devils led 11-2, reminding everyone watching why they earned the preseason No. 2 tab. 

The weekend’s matches against Penn and Princeton were part of the season’s Ivy/ACC Weekend. The two schools traveled down to trade matches between North Carolina and the Blue Devils, with the Tar Heels beating the Quakers to complete the weekend round-robin.

“[Penn and Princeton] are both big, and they both have great skills … But they do have different styles,” Danowski said. “If we knew [against Penn] what we know now, it might have been different. But again, it was good for us.”

Sunday’s second half looked no better than the first for the Tigers. Duke continued to dominate defensively and scored on Princeton when it could. By the time Williams hit a Sports-Center-Top-10-worthy trickshot with seven minutes remaining, the game might as well have been over.

To close things out, many virtually victorious Blue Devils came off the field to rest, and the Tigers racked up three garbage-time goals. The buzzer sounded with Duke up nine, fueled by noteworthy performance all across the roster.

“Defense all the way to offense,” Zawada said, was the story of the game, and Duke confirmed that the sum of all its star power is quite an unstoppable force.

The Blue Devils next travel to Baltimore Saturday to take on Loyola.


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