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Blue Devils Fall Short to Maryland in NCAA Semifinal
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 05/28/2011
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Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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BALTIMORE, Md.- Maryland's defense limited sixth-ranked Duke to four goals on 28 shots as the eighth-ranked Terrapins claimed a 9-4 win over the Blue Devils in front of 45,039 fans Saturday evening in the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Semifinals at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Blue Devils got a goal each from David Lawson, Christian Walsh, Zach Howell and Josh Offit, but the Duke offense was never able to establish a rhythm in the game. Duke's four goals in the contest were the squad's lowest scoring output this season since registering three in a four-goal loss at Penn on Feb. 26.

"Opening statements are always so difficult - especially when you lose," head coach John Danowski said. "Today, when you say goodbye to a group of young men that you've spent so much time with over the last eight or nine months, where do you draw the line from focusing on the game and all of the relationships you've built during the course of the year. With that being said, Maryland was too physical, too strong and too athletic today. And, I think it showed. I loved the fight of our guys. We got knocked down a whole bunch and got right back up and right back into it. But, not enough poise in the clearing game in the second half. I would have liked to win a couple more faceoffs. At halftime, we thought the game was close. I thought they made a couple of shots and we didn't. Statistically, the game was very even. In the second half, they did a nice job. Hats off to Coach Tillman and the Maryland Terrapins."

After a low-scoring first quarter that saw Maryland score two unanswered for the 2-1 lead, the two teams netted a combined three goals in the first 4:22. The Terrapins stretched the lead to 3-1 2:15 into the frame before Offit took a pass from senior Tucker Virtue and fired it low past freshman goaltender Niko Amato to make it a 3-2 score.

A violation by the Blue Devils on the ensuing faceoff gave Maryland's Curtis Holmes an open lane down the right side of the field and he capitalized, rifling a shot past sophomore backstop Dan Wigrizer to put the Terrapins ahead 4-2. Maryland (13-4) added one more from the stick of Joe Cummings to go into the locker room with a 5-2 advantage. The two goals by the Blue Devils marked the fourth time in the season they scored two or fewer goals in the first 30 minutes.

Duke was able to cut Maryland's lead back to two at the 9:36 mark of the third quarter with an unassisted goal from Howell, snapping a 15:57 scoreless streak for the Blue Devils. But Duke continued to struggle on offense the remainder of the game and did not record another goal until just over two minutes left to play.

The Terps put the game out of reach with a 4-0 run over a span of 16:24, starting with a Grant Catalino goal with 4:41 to go in the third quarter. Maryland added three more scores to start the fourth period, and led 9-3 before Walsh tallied Duke's final marker with 2:06 remaining.

For the game, Maryland outshot Duke 32-28 and won the ground ball battle 27-25. The Terps received three goals from Catalino and two from Cummings, while Holmes won 11-of-17 faceoffs in the contest. Duke had four different players face off with sophomore Greg DeLuca taking the most with nine.

In goal, Wigrizer had nine stops on 18 shots, and Amato posted 13 saves for the Terrapins.

Duke concludes the season with a 14-6 overall record after making the program's fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA semifinals. The Blue Devils are now 22-14 all-time in NCAA Tournament action and hold a 3-4 mark in national semifinal contests. Maryland moves to 13-4 on the year and advances to the NCAA Championship game, where the Terps will face Virginia at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 30.