DURHAM, N.C. – The fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils didn’t hold back in posting an overwhelming 21-7 win over the sixth-ranked Syracuse Orange at Koskinen Stadium on Sunday.
The defending NCAA-champion Blue Devils (8-2, 2-1) played a near-flawless game in all areas against the Orange (4-3, 0-3) who remained winless in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play.
Duke midfielders Deemer Class and Myles Jones set career marks scoring six and five goals respectively, while attackmen Jordan Wolf and Josh Dionne tallied five and four markers of their own, with Christian Walsh adding the remaining single.
The Blue Devils put together a 57-shot barrage that overwhelmed Syracuse goalkeeper Dominic Lamolinara who could only come up with five saves during the opening half of play.
Duke took advantage of the space they had available to test Lamolinara, the ACC’s saves leader, early and often.
Unfortunately for the Syracuse defense, they couldn’t help their goalkeeper much in containing the Blue Devils attackmen or middles.
“I’m disappointed that defensively, I thought we knew who they were,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said.
“We slid late to them. We didn’t seem to understand who they were. We worked on it all week. I thought we were prepared to play, especially defensively against this group, as any we’ve played this year. Disappointed we didn’t play better today defensively.”
By the end of the first half, the Blue Devils led 13-4.
“During the week we looked at a ton of film and looked at their slide packages,” Jones said.
“They had a lot of trust in their defensive middies, so we dodged and their guys always slide, so we worked on keeping our head up, then looking to see if that slide doesn’t come, we go right to the cage.”
Syracuse actually took control of the game early on after Class opened the game’s scoring just 40 seconds into it.
Derek DeJoe and former Tar Heel transfer Nicky Galasso put Syracuse ahead 2-1 with 11:35 to play in the opening quarter.
Duke then proceeded to put together an eight-goal run to lead 10-2 early in the second quarter.
Sprinkled intermittently between the Blue Devils’ goals, the Orange managed to post scores from Derek Staats who led with two, while Kevin Rice, Derek Maltz, and Billy Ward added the remaining markers.
Bobby Wardwell replaced Lamolinara during the second half and made eight total saves to slow but not stop the bleeding for the Orange.
Duke played a textbook passing game that included simple off-ball movement that allowed them to fire at will on the cage.
“It was a product of great ball movement,” Class said of tallying a career-high 10 points.
“Guys were pushing the ball like Christian Walsh with one-mores. Our zone offense, we tried to draw two, move it, and I was at the receiving end of a lot of it – just a product of my teammates moving the ball.”
Defensively, Duke played an aggressive game, fell into some penalty trouble early, but forced the Syracuse offense to turn the ball over 16 times, and helped to finish with a 38-17 advantage on ground ball possessions.
Faceoff specialist Brendan Fowler’s dominated at the faceoff X, winning 24 of 31 draws he took against five different Syracuse players while a steady rain fell throughout the game.
Syracuse’s defense fell into penalty trouble at various points in the game and allowed the Blue Devils’ man-up units to put in some productive time as they converted on 4-of-6 EMO’s presented to them.
Duke head coach John Danowski was cautious to mention that the dominating win over the Orange was nothing more than another positive step towards getting better during the regular season.
“The key is don’t let this game be the peak of the season,” Danowski said.
“Have this game show the possibilities that if you practice well, prepare well, and play right, that these are the possibilities of what it could be. We don’t want this game to define us. We don’t want this game to be the best effort of individuals or the best effort for the team. We need to learn from this and we need to grow and get better and really be critical of ourselves at this point.”