DURHAM, N.C. -- Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse coach Dave Pietramala said he had Duke's speed and athleticism on tape. Witnessing the Blue Devils in person was nearly as awe-inspiring.
No. 1 Duke scored nine unanswered goals spanning the second and third quarters to break a 4-4 tie, and the Blue Devils humbled the No. 12 Blue Jays, 17-6, at Koskinen Stadium last night.
Johns Hopkins dropped to 3-5 and lost its fifth consecutive game - the program's longest skid since the school began keeping season records in 1883. In losing by 11 goals last night, the Blue Jays were dealt their worst defeat since they fell, 19-7, to Syracuse on March 8, 1988.
"This is a team where every mistake you make is magnified," Pietramala said. "We just fell into what a lot of other teams have done and they've handled. They handled us tonight."
With just five regular-season games remaining, Johns Hopkins will likely need to win four to garner any hope of a bid to the NCAA tournament. The Blue Jays have not missed the tournament since 1971, the first year of the season-ending event.
"It seems for the past five weeks, every week has become more and more must-win," said senior attackman Kevin Huntley (Calvert Hall). "We came down with the attitude that we wanted to play well. We wanted to play hard. I think everyone gave their best effort, and unfortunately, we came up short. Next [Saturday] against Maryland, it's do-or-die for us as a team."
Duke (10-1) was paced by senior attackmen Matt Danowski and Zack Greer, both of whom recorded seven points. Greer posted six goals and an assist, and Danowski had two goals and five assists. Junior midfielder Ned Crotty added a hat trick and an assist, and sophomore attackman Max Quinzani recorded a hat trick.
Huntley led Johns Hopkins with two goals and two assists, and junior midfielder Brian Christopher registered two assists. No other Blue Jays player totaled more than a point.
The key was a 19-minute, 59-second stretch spanning the second and third quarters in which the Blue Devils went on their 9-0 tear.
After Blue Jays senior midfielder Paul Rabil whipped a shot past senior goalkeeper Dan Loftus (10 saves) to tie the score at four with 8:38 left in the second quarter, Duke ended the first half with four straight goals.
Johns Hopkins opened the third quarter with an extra-man opportunity courtesy of an unnecessary roughness call on sophomore defenseman Parker McKee, but the Blue Jays could not put ball past Loftus.
Quinzani's tally with 8:09 left in the second quarter ignited a 5-0 Blue Devils burst that included four in a span of 2:46, essentially putting the game out of reach.
One troubling statistic during that stretch was Johns Hopkins' inability to effectively clear the ball. The Blue Jays converted just five of 13 clears during the second and third quarters, leading to transition goals for a Blue Devils team that thrives on unsettled situations.
"We didn't take the opportunity that we were given," said junior defenseman Michael Evans (South River). "We failed to clear a few times and gave the ball back, and they capitalized on that."
After the game, several Duke players expressed surprise at the final score but declined to say whether Johns Hopkins was crumbling.
"When you play Hopkins, you never expect to win by the score that we did today," said Danowski, who with 319 career points is one shy of tying Tim Nelson for second all time in NCAA history. "We knew it was going to be a tight game all along. We just had to keep to our game plan and keep on playing."
J 1 3 1 1 - 6
D 3 5 6 3 - 17
Goals: J-Huntley 2, Rabil, Doneger, Bocklet, Walker; D-Greer 6, Crotty 3, Quinzani 3, Danowksi, Payton, Ross, McKee, Catalino. Assists: J-Christopher 2, Huntley 2, Spaulding; D-Danowski 6, Crotty, Greer, Payton, Solie. Saves: Gvozden 8; D-Loftus 9, Schroeder.