Duke Advances Past North Carolina in Semifinals Action of the 2008 ACC Men's Lacrosse Championships
April 25, 2008
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Duke's tandem of Zack Greer and 2008 ACC Player of the Year Matt Danowki led the second-ranked Blue Devils to a 17-6 victory in semifinals action of this year's ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship, held on the Grounds of the University of Virginia Friday evening.
As the top seed in the two-day event, Duke will advance to the championship contest on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The Blue Devils, who have won four ACC Championship titles, are now 14-14 in ACC Tournament action.
"Going into today, it was anybody's game," said Duke head coach John Danowski. "North Carolina had a great game plan and had great possessions in the first half. At the end of the game, we looked back and asked if everything was just going our way; however, it was 5-3 in the first period. At that point, you just have to hope that the guys will continue to play hard."
North Carolina opened the game with a 3-1 first period performance, including scores from junior Bart Wagner, senior Tim Kaiser and sophomore Cryder DiPietro. Wagner connected on a pass from teammate senior midfielder Mike Munnelly with 8:45 on the clock, following a ground ball from senior defender Tim Kaiser.
Duke quickly evened the score with a goal by senior midfielder Mike Catalino, assisted by sophomore Max Quinzani.
The Tar Heels; however, kept their momentum going with two back-to-back goals within 12 seconds of one another. Duke's Parker McKee picked up a slashing penalty, giving UNC the extra man opportunity and the Heels took advantage of the situation.
DiPietro found the back of the net, connecting with rookie Billy Bitter on a cross pass. After UNC's Shane Walterhoefer won the faceoff, junior Ben Hunt scooped up a ground ball en route to assisting Kaiser with 5:13 remaining in the first period.
Walterhoefer, who has another year of eligibility, is now just five faceoff wins shy of the school's all-time faceoff record of 446 by Kevin Frew (2001-04).
Heading into the second stanza and the turnovers knotted at seven apiece, Duke rallied to 5-3 with four consecutive goals, two of which coming from midfielder Zack Greer. The senior, who became the Blue Devils' all time leader in goals earlier this season, posted his first goal of the period, unassisted with 14:10 on the clock.
Senior Michael Young and sophomore Max Quinzani also added goals for the second-ranked Blue Devils, according to the USILA coaches poll.
Greer, who was one of four Duke players to be recognized the previous day as 2008 All-ACC members, improved the goal differential with a tally at 3:33 remaining in the second period. His goal was assisted by Danowski, who had attempted three shots, two going wide and one blocked, before passing to Greer.
The duo of Greer and Danowski has packed a one-two ranking punch on the national scoring charts for the past two years. Greer led all scorers with four and Danowski grabbed a game-high four assists for the winning effort.
Duke, which outshot the Tar Heels 53-33 in the contest, dominated the third and fourth periods, recording 12 goals to the Tar Heels' three. Six players scored during the second half, while four had two or more during this time.
The Blue Devils won the ground ball battle 49-40, while a key in the game was the extra-man opportunities where the Blue Devils cashed in for six goals on 10 Tar Heel penalties.
In the cage for the Blue Devils was senior Dan Loftus, who made 11 saves in 55 minutes of action, while Grant Zimmermann of North Carolina collected 13 stops against an aggressive Duke squad.
The 2008 ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship will resume action Friday evening with the second semifinal contest between second-seeded Maryland and third-seed and host Virginia at 7:30 p.m. at UVa's Klockner Stadium.