Duke lacrosse player Justin Guterding answers four questions. (Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun video)
One of three players with four points in the No. 3 Duke men’s lacrosse team’s 10-8 win at Towson on Saturday, senior attackman Justin Guterding added five goals and one assist in Sunday’s 9-3 victory at Cleveland State.
Guterding leads Division I players in goals (32) and points (56). He shared his perspective on leading an offense that is ranked third in the nation in scoring and being left out of the field as a finalist for last year’s Tewaaraton Award.
Justin, can you talk about how it does it feel to be one of the top offensive leaders in Division I this year?
It’s a credit to our coaching staff and our offensive players. Guys are playing great offensively. We’re running and getting out. It’s also a credit to our defense, you know? Without them, we can’t really get out and run. Guys are hitting shots, guys are passing me the ball. So far, it’s happened to be me on the end of all the scoring, but last week, we saw [midfielders] Brad Smith and Peter Conley step up when it wasn’t my day. So it’s a big team — everything, all these awards are team awards, and I’m excited to keep going in the season.
How dangerous is this offense when you get support from the midfield as you pointed out last week?
I would say pretty dangerous. We’ve got guys all over the field that can make plays. Even in our defensive Rope, we’ve got guys who can shoot and we’ve got guys who can make plays. But Brad Smith and Peter Conley last week really stood up and became leaders of this offense, and that’s something we were looking for earlier in the season, and I’m really proud of those two guys.
Justin, the team is now 7-1 [now 8-1 after Sunday]. How good does this team feel about its chances?
We’ve got a lot of work to do still. We saw today we’ve got to work on our zone offense. We’ve got plenty of room for improvement, and we’re excited for that challenge. The potential’s there, but it really comes down to execution.
Justin, you had one of your best seasons last year, but you weren’t a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award. In retrospect, did that in any way bother you?
Not really. We didn’t win a national championship. So that’s the main goal, and that’s really all that I care about. So that’s the main focus of our team. None of these awards really matter. Coach always says awards come when the team wins, and that’s what really important.