COLLEGE PARK -- After two weeks of weather delays postponed the start of Maryland's lacrosse season, coach Dave Cottle went into yesterday's game against Duke with dueling emotions: optimism and fear.
"To be honest, when you're not playing for two weeks, you're scared to death because you don't know what's going to happen when you finally get out there," Cottle said.
Cottle's worries were valid for all of 14 minutes. After falling behind No. 7 Duke by two goals in the first period, No. 5 Maryland dominated, scoring 11 unanswered goals to win going away, 13-7.
Brian Hunt, a graduate student who saw action for the first time since playing at Yale in 2001, scored three goals in his Terps debut, and Dan LaMonica scored three times, helping Maryland (1-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) avenge two overtime losses to Duke last season.
"That's what we should have done last year against them," said LaMonica, Maryland's second-leading scorer last season. "We were a little worried about the first game, but after a slow start we took it to them."
Though Duke had its problems throughout the day, the Blue Devils (2-1, 0-1) got Maryland's attention early. Defenseman Taylor Wray knocked Maryland's Mike Mollot off his feet in the opening minutes, and soon after Blue Devils defenseman John Wendling did the same thing to Jamie Daue. That aggressiveness helped the Blue Devils grab a 3-1 lead with goals by Dan Flannery, Kevin Brennan and Ben Fenton.
"Duke came out with a lot of emotion and was very physical with us," Cottle said. "But we sold our kids that it didn't matter what happened in the first 15 minutes, but what happened for 60 minutes. I think that's how you have to approach it when you have a two-week layoff. Two of our best offensive players really got drilled, then got back up in the second quarter and were excellent."
The momentum began to swing Maryland's way in the second quarter when goalie Danny McCormick settled down, and the Terps' vaunted defense began to squeeze the Blue Devils. Preseason All-Americans Chris Passavia and Michael Howley, as well as defenseman Lee Zink and Brett Harper, cut off angles and forced turnovers, which led to a run of five second-period goals. Hunt scored twice, and LaMonica, Mollot and Ryan Moran got one each, for a 7-4 halftime lead.
"It's always emotional when we play Duke, so initially you have to settle the butterflies and get the willies out," Passavia said. "I think we collected ourselves, then concentrated on executing while using that emotion to go a little harder."
The third period was simply more of the same, highlighted by some standout play by McCormick in net. The 5-foot-9 senior stopped 16 of 17 shots during one stretch and finished with a career-high 17 saves. LaMonica and Ian Healy added two more goals to put Maryland up 9-4.
"At times offensively, we looked inept out there," said Duke coach Mike Pressler. "Give Maryland credit. They won the game, but I don't think it was so much Maryland, as much as it was us. I think some of our young guys panicked and weren't able to stay with the plan. ... There was a lot of selfish and stubborn play in the second half."
Duke showed some life in the fourth period, but not before Maryland added four more goals to go up 13-4. Penalties didn't help Duke's chances on the day, as the Terps scored four times on six extra-man situations. Duke scored the final three goals (two of them by Brennan, who finished with three on the day) but the game was well in hand at that point.
"We've had 16 days to practice the extra-man situations, so that's good for us," Mollot said. "Sometimes when our offense is struggling, that's a free goal for us. We've got to keep those up all year."
Duke 3 1 0 3 -- 7
Maryland 2 5 2 4 -- 13
Goals: D--Brennan 3, Cassese, Fenton, Flannery, Wray; M--Hunt 3, LaMonica 3, Moran 2, Healy, McGlone, Mollot, W. Passavia, Smith. Assists: D--Monfett 2, Cassese, Fenton, Rewkowski; M--Walters 2, Hunt, LaMonica, Mollot. Saves: D--Kincel 15; M--McCormick 17.