The beginning of the end came early for Johns Hopkins.
After falling behind 6-0 midway in the first quarter, Johns Hopkins tried to rally several times but couldn't withstand the constant offensive pressure as top-seeded Duke routed the unseeded Blue Jays, 19-11, at Delaware Stadium in an NCAA quarterfinal Sunday afternoon.
The win by Duke appears to be part of their annual march to the Final Four — the Blue Devils will make their eighth straight semifinal appearance next weekend at M&T Bank Stadium. Meanwhile, Hopkins has not reached the semifinals since 2008, the longest drought in program history.
The Blue Devils, who entered the day with the best offense left in the tournament at 14.82 goals per game, got five goals from attackman Jordan Wolf and four from attackman Josh Dionne.
Johns Hopkins couldn't defend Duke's Myles Jones, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound sophomore midfielder who finished with three goals and four assists. When he started a run to the goal, no one got in his way.
"You have to defend all six guys for all of their possessions, even with their second midfield," said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala. "Even when you have good defense, they can still put one on you. They didn't do anything we didn't prepare for, but they are better in person than they are on film. Believe me.
"It's kind of like pick your poison," said Pietramala. "They overwhelmed us early with their speed and they played better than us. There was no question they were the better team."
Duke scored 51 seconds into the game and had a 6-0 lead with 5:13 remaining in the first quarter as the Blue Devils scored in just about every way imaginable from fast breaks to extra-man opportunities to settled situations.
The Devils even had an 11-4 lead midway in the second quarter before midfielders Holden Cattoni, Connor Reed and John Crawley scored the final three goals of the half to pull the Blue Jays within 12-8.
The Blue Devils lost Dionne for the game with a knee injury with 23 seconds remaining in the second period, raising the possibility of a Hopkins comeback.
But once Cattoni scored back-to-back goals to cut Duke's lead to 12-10 with 9:16 remaining in the third period, Hopkins took only two shots the rest of the game. Duke started going back to what got it the big lead.
Blue Devils midfielder Brendan Fowler started winning faceoffs again, Duke controlled ground balls and Wolf and Jones dominated the game. Aided by two big Blue Jays turnovers in the third quarter, Duke went on a 7-1 run.
"Duke is a very dangerous team," said Hopkins long-stick midfielder Michael Pellegrino. "They capitalized on every mistake we made today. You can get away with that against other teams, but they bury you."
Hopkins had 10 turnovers, eight in the second half. The Blue Jays were outshot 44-35 and outhustled for ground balls 37-19, which made a huge difference in the game.
Once Hopkins had pulled within 12-10, Wolf scored on a turnaround shot from the right side of the goal with 8:24 left in the third quarter and then took a pass from attackman Case Matheis after Matheis split a double team for another goal with 3:11 remaining.
Then it was Jones time.
He assisted on back-to-back goals with nifty passes within 40 seconds to put Duke ahead 16-11 with 8:14 left in the fourth quarter and then ran around and through three Blue Jays defenders before scoring from in close for an 18-11 advantage with 5:30 remaining.
"I kind of stressed to our guys that we went up early but they were going to make a run and we had to stay on an even keel," said Duke midfielder Christian Walsh (Boys' Latin). "Lacrosse is a game of runs, and we were able to regain control in the fourth quarter."
Added Duke coach John Danowski: "There were a lot of one more, extra passes. A lot of guys don't buy into that; this group does."