COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland men's lacrosse team needed some big performances from its veteran leaders, and senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk, senior goalkeeper Niko Amato and junior Goran Murray were happy to oblige.
Chanenchuk tied a career high with five goals and also had an assist, Murray held Duke's leading scorer Jordan Wolf in check, and Amato made a game-high 17 saves to propel the No. 3 Terps to a 10-6 victory over the reigning national champion and top-ranked Blue Devils at Byrd Stadium on Saturday.
An announced 5,055 watched Maryland improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the team's final regular-season game against Duke (4-1, 0-1) as league rivals.
Chanenchuk, who entered the game leading the Terps in assists, overtook freshman attackman Matt Rambo for the team lead in both goals (12) and points (17).
Amato made 10 of his stops in the first half, and Murray did a solid job against Wolf, who had entered the game tied with Loyola junior attackman Nikko Pontrello for the Division I lead in points, with 19. Wolf finished with two goals and one assist, but he took seven shots and one of those goals was on an extra-man opportunity in the first quarter, when Murray was not on the field.
"The good thing about this team is that each week, hopefully it's somebody different, but there are obviously going to be constants," coach John Tillman said. "With these three guys, we know what we're getting every week. It may not be a ton of saves for Niko because the defense had done a good job. And it might be that Michael gets a couple of assists, but no goals, but I don't think those guys really care."
Chanenchuk said his chances came as the Blue Devils focused attention attention on Rambo and freshman midfielder Connor Cannizzaro, who had posted three goals and one assist in a 16-8 upset of then-No. 2 Syracuse on Feb. 22.
"I think that our whole offense did really well today, working together, and it just kind of happened that I had pretty good success shooting today," said Chanenchuk, who took a game-high 13 shots. "Like I talked about previously, our offense revolves around 10 different guys. Some guys get hot one day, some guys get hot today, and today, I was that person."
After a first quarter in which both sides scored two goals each, the Terps took the lead on a heads-up play by junior attackman Jay Carlson. The St. Paul's graduate alertly collected a rebound after a shot by Cannizzaro and got to the left side of the crease, where he slid the ball under sophomore goalie Luke Aaron just 45 seconds into the second period.
The Blue Devils responded with a 3-0 spurt. Wolf curled around the left post and jumped to fire the ball over Murray and Amato with 12:59 remaining.
Sixty-five seconds later, sophomore attackman Case Matheis curled around the right post, faked a shot, and kept moving outward to give himself more angle to work with before beating Amato high. Then Matheis gave Duke a 5-3 advantage when a Maryland short-stick midfielder mishandled a rebound. Freshman midfielder Jack Bruckner grabbed a jump ball and found Matheis along on the doorstep with 7:58 left in the second quarter.
That was the last goal the Blue Devils would score for the next 26 minutes, 26 seconds. During that stretch, the Terps embarked on a 7-0 run spanning the final three quarters. Chanenchuk scored three of those goals, and junior faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa scored after winning a draw, his eighth in 19 attempts.
Duke coach John Danowski said his offense had difficulty deciphering Maryland's defense, which allowed just 12 of the Blue Devils' 36 shots in the second half. When Duke did get off a shot, Amato was there.
"Their goalie was terrific," he said. "Defensively, I thought they had a really good game plan and understood how they play. We were certainly disappointed in our second-half effort, but the calendar says it's March 1, and the plan is we're going to learn from this film and move forward."
Notes: Freshman midfielder Colin Heacock (Boys' Latin) scored the first goal of his career with 4:40 left in the second quarter, taking a pass from Chanenchuk and firing a high shot from the right point past Aaron. … The win improved the Terps' record against Duke to 62-20. Maryland has now beaten the two teams that made up last year's NCAA title game after demolishing national runner-up Syracuse. … The Terps have won eight of the last 10 meetings with the Blue Devils.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun