Devils run Buckeyes out

The Baltimore Sun

ITHACA, N.Y. -- All season, the Duke and Ohio State men's lacrosse teams have prided themselves on starting out fast and jumping on their opponents early.

Turns out their definitions of "fast" are slightly different.

The Buckeyes seized a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds into their NCAA tournament quarterfinal against the Blue Devils, but Duke responded with a 10-0 run to cruise to a 21-10 victory at Cornell's Schoellkopf Field yesterday.

Senior attackman Zack Greer led all scorers with a career-high 11 points on six goals and five assists to propel the top-seeded Blue Devils (18-1) to a semifinal meeting with fifth-seeded Johns Hopkins (10-5) in Foxborough, Mass., on Saturday. Duke routed the Blue Jays, 17-6, on April 5.

Duke and Ohio State had each outscored their opponents in the first quarter by at least 31 goals, and the unseeded Buckeyes (11-6) bounced eighth-seeded Cornell from the first round May 10 by capitalizing on a 5-1 opening period.

But Ohio State was unprepared for what the Blue Devils unleashed.

"Watching film is a lot different from playing them on the field," said senior Kevin Buchanan, a Calvert Hall graduate who was one of three Buckeyes with two goals and two assists. "They jumped out early on us, and we started playing catch-up the rest of the game."

Duke has outscored opponents 73-29 in the first quarter this season.

"That's how we play every week," coach John Danowski said. "We try to create opportunities off faceoffs, we try to create opportunities from the [defensive] end when people are subbing and there's only five people on [the opponents'] offensive end and we've got seven - including the goalie - so that we can double the ball. ... It's tough for teams to practice that during the week because they haven't seen that kind of pressure. That's how we practice every day."

The Blue Devils were as efficient as they were overpowering. When Greer scored his fourth goal of the game off a rebound to give Duke a 12-2 advantage with 7:50 left in the first half, the Blue Devils had scored their 12 goals on 18 shots.

"We were finishing our shots," Greer said. "Guys were being unselfish, making the extra passes, and it worked out for us early."

The possibility of a first final four appearance for the Buckeyes appeared promising just 30 seconds into yesterday's contest.

Duke senior goalkeeper Dan Loftus (six goals allowed on 13 saves) turned back a blast from Buchanan, and junior attackman Jeff Ryan's rebound attempt caromed off the left post. But sophomore attackman Mario Ventiquattro collected the rebound and dumped the ball behind Loftus to give Ohio State a 1-0 lead.

That was the last time the Buckeyes led, as the Blue Devils ripped off 10 unanswered goals in 14 minutes, 58 seconds. Duke had an 18-4 advantage in shots in the first period.

Blue Devils sophomore attackman Max Quinzani recorded five goals and an assist, while senior midfielder Brad Ross chipped in a hat trick and an assist.

Notes -- Duke, which is 4-5 in the quarterfinals, has won in its past three appearances. ... Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, whose team defeated Navy, 10-4, in a quarterfinal on Saturday, and offensive coordinator Bobby Benson were in attendance.

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